Category: Guest Author

Janet Chester Bly – 7 Little Known Facts of Goldfield, Nevada

Goldfield, Nevada of Esmeralda County is most known these days for its haunted hotel and array of original buildings still in good repair. A 20th century boom town, it sprang into existence after a rich gold strike by William Marsh and Harry Stimler (part Shoshone) in December 1902 and mostly died by 1910. Stimler and Marsh were first on the ground after sighting an Indian named Tom Fisherman loaded down with yellow rock. They eventually pressured Fisherman into showing them the place where he found the treasure. A revival of mining soon exploded in Nevada.

Here are seven other random factoids about the fascinating early days of desert ghost town Goldfield, Nevada.

A Town Full of Visionaries

Fantastical mining and business schemes abounded, of course, but also new inventions. Improvements for the mines, such as making building blocks from sagebrush. Brake upgrades for carriages. Charles Chrisman created the “Desert Flyer,” a sixty horsepower auto with no gears. However, efforts to produce the auto failed. Then, there were the various airships concocted by men with names like Beller and Froberg who made daytime and secret night test flights to the entertainment and endless derision of Goldfield citizens.

Death Stats

Alcoholism was either the sole cause or leading factor in more than 5% of deaths, especially in the boom years. In fact, water cost more than whiskey, which provided a story kernel for my late hubby author Stephen Bly’s novel Fool’s Gold, Book 1, Skinners of Goldfield series. In the early days, a bath was the ultimate expensive luxury.

Next, homicide victims were 4%.

Suicides rated 3%.

Unforgiving Environment

Descriptions of the site by newcomers ranged from “hideous” to “too much sky and not enough water” to “the end of the world.” Parmeter Ken in the Goldfield Gossip, 1906 wrote Goldfield had the “worst climate in the world … For three months it scorches the life out of you; freezes and chills you for another three, and blows what’s left of you into dust for the remaining six.”

Hosts of Pests

The desert town was home to its share of rattlesnakes, tarantulas, vinegarones, and bloodsucking flies. However, some considered the lizards the most beautiful they’d ever seen. One young man found them also somewhat palatable. He survived for five days by chewing cacti and lizards until a rescue party found him.

Teachers and Firemen

Both these trades held a unique distinction. They often worked without pay for periods as long as five months at a time.

Womba Women

Only the most vigorous women pulled up stakes with their men to come to Goldfield. One man wrote of his wife: “She is a brave little body and is entirely willing to cast her fortunes with me in Tonopah or Goldfield, and brings the matter up every day.” The ghost town still has about 200-300 hardy living residents and is a popular tourist stop.

The Ladies Aid Society

This group proved to be the civilizers and equal opportunity social movers of this frontier town. They raised money for a building where religious meetings of many different beliefs could take place. The hall also provided concerts, a justice court, as well as boxing matches, and served as an all-purpose recreation center for dances.

(You can find out much more in resources such as Goldfield/The Last Gold rush on the Western Frontier by Sally Zanjani)

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Have you ever visited the town of Goldfield or one like it? What was your most compelling impression? Would you ever want to live there? Would love to have you leave a comment below so we can chat and also you can be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy of Down Squash Blossom Road — either paperback (USA only) or .pdf for your digital reader.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. Together they published 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids. Janet and their three sons finished Stephen’s last novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist. Down Squash Blossom Road is Book 2 in the Reba Cahill contemporary western mystery series.

Download 5 free chapters now here:
http://www.blybooks.com/genre/contemporary-fiction/

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Book 1 is Wind in the Wires. Find it here: http://www.blybooks.com/books/inspirational-books-novel/

Down Squash Blossom Road

What Secret Lies Down Squash Blossom Road?

Cowgirl Reba Cahill’s schedule is full. Save the family ranch. Free her mom from a mental institute. Take a road trip that includes Goldfield, Nevada. Solve a murder and kidnapping. Evade a stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance?

Reba Cahill focused on the duties of the ranch, along with her widowed grandmother. But a crippled Champ Runcie returns to Road’s End in a wheelchair and seeks revenge for the accident that put him there. He blames Reba’s horse. Meanwhile, a letter from her estranged mom forces her and Grandma Pearl back on the road: I can leave now. Come get me. Love, Mom

When they arrive in Reno, her mother issues a demand and refuses to return to Idaho. They head west instead by way of Goldfield, Nevada. In California, Reba’s friend Ginny’s marriage is on the rocks. The family business is threatened. And squabbles turn deadly.

Reba digs deep to find the courage to forge a relationship with her mom and escape a crazed man’s obsession. She also hopes for a future with a horse trainer who offers her a new horse to replace the one she lost in the accident. But why does he have a photo of a pretty woman on his wall?

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Hauck said of Book 1, Wind in the Wires: “I love your voice! I love the setting…It’s a great story!”

 

To Connect with Janet Chester Bly:

Sign up for Almost Monthly Bly Books News and receive 5 free chapters Wind in the Wires, Book 1 … http://www.blybooks.com/contact/stephen-bly-books-newsletter/

Follow Blog Tour Page for other giveaways:

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Updated: January 17, 2017 — 10:19 am

Special Guest – Anne Schroeder

Hi, I’m Anne Schroeder and I’m here to tell you that God works in mysterious ways. Never truer than the journey I took in writing about Maria Inés, a Salinan (Mission) Indian who lived though the Spanish, Mexican and Yanqui conquest of her beloved California. No petticoats or pistols in her life. Her grandmother, a pre-Christianized Salinan, wore only a smile in the summer and a deerskin loincloth in the winter. (Central Coast winters tend to be mild.)

In severe weather she added a coating of mud from the sulphur springs that later made Paso Robles a world-class health spa. She soaked sore muscles in the steaming ooze—as long as a grizzly wasn’t doing the same thing. The tribe posted lookouts to warn when one approached because the osos liked mud baths, too.

When the Salinans heard the roar of a Spanish blunderbuss, they invited Fr. Serra to build a Mission on their lands, in part for the protection that the pistols and long-guns offered against the bears. But protection came at a price.

Maria Inés is a composite of the Christianized Indians who came willingly to Christ, only to find that their freedom to return to their rancherios was compromised once they were under the providence of the padres who saw them as “children of God” and their responsibility.

The padres wrote the native Salinan language in books, their “talking leaves,” in an attempt to learn the nuances, but the young people preferred the lyrical languages that the Spanish brought: Castilian Spanish with its endless variety of words for love, and Latin for praising God. Gradually, whether from force or from choice, the old ways died out. Too bad for Maria Inés.

Music entered the Missions with violins, guitars and cymbals. Dancing followed, with the padres’ rule of “no touching.” Quadrilles, jotas and zambras danced by the high-born Spanish families were mimicked in segregated dance pavilions by the Indians. The gente de razon, highborn, Spanish women wore three petticoats under their full gathered skirts so that no hint of limb might be seen. Their dresses were often black, their hair styles severe, the better to avoid carnal sins of vanity or inciting lust.

Maria Inés wore a skirt and blouse of coarsely woven hemp to hide her nakedness, but she listened to her grandmother’s tales of T’e Lxo, the thunder that shouted from the sky.

The padres taught her to pray on rosary beads, but she was a child torn between two worlds. Petticoats and pistols, romance and hard labor– extremes that defined Maria Inés life.

 

I wrote Maria Inés’ story because the truth of the Mission era is complex, and the death of the Indians, not just the Catholics’ fault. A complex love story published by Five Star Publishing and sold to libraries and on Kindle. If you’re intrigued, ask your library to order a copy or two. I include glossaries of Salinan and Spanish Mission terms to sort out the players. It’s a book your grandma would love, too.

Anne will be giving away a print copy of her book Maria Ines to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this post.

 

Five Star  Purchase Link

 Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

 

Tina Radcliffe – My Heroes Have Always Been Amputees

Tina Radcliffe

Thanks to all the fillies for having me here today. My current release from Love Inspired, Rocky Mountain Cowboy, features a hero with a prosthetic arm. Amputations and prosthetic devices have come a long way since the days of the Wild West.

As far back as the Civil War, amputations were done for injury, infection and even compound fractures (where the bone was protruding through the skin.). The caveat is that there was no anesthetic, so just like the old films, the patient might be fortunate to be unconscious or be liquored up or receive a dose of tincture of laudanum (which contains opium), but they were most often awake and conscious. Laudanum was considered a miracle drug of its day and was used for everything from coughs, pain, and diarrhea. Until the early 1900’s it was easily obtained.

 
Medicine in the Old West by Jeremy Agnew. http://amzn.to/2iejNx2%5B/caption%5D

The term “bite the bullet,” comes from using a bullet to bite down on during medical procedures such as amputation when no wooden block or leather was available to bite on.

Per Agnew’s book, physicians were valued for their speed, and operating room assistants were chosen for their “brawn rather than their brains.” Surgery consisted of a tourniquet, a circular cut and sawing through the flesh and bone in mere minutes. A flap was created using overlapping skin, to cover the amputated site.

Prosthetic devices have been around since 600 BC. By the 1800’s they were made of wood, metal and leather. Wooden legs were strapped to the body with leather or metal clamps, and were dressed with socks and shoes for a natural appearance.

For more information and pictures of these early prosthetic devices you can check out the following articles:

  • Crude Prosthetic Limbs From The Past Were Horrifying Yet Oddly Beautiful-Viral Nova http://bit.ly/2hKZjrT

You can even purchase these antique prosthetic devices on EBay! http://ebay.to/2iATPEr

                                 

Needless to say, technology has come a very long way. Amputee Coalition’s InMotion Magazine November/December magazine stats tell us the following:

  • Currently, 2.1 million people live with limb loss. By the year 2050 3.6 million people will be living with limb loss.
  • 185 thousand people have an amputation each year.
  • 507 People lose a limb each day.

You can find this magazine online here. http://bit.ly/2io8zTT

With this information in mind, isn’t it totally appropriate that we should be writing more and more heroes, heroines and secondary characters in our novels as amputees? There is no limit to what our amputee characters can do. Don’t limit yourself by false myths about amputees. Do consider an amputee in your stories.

Have you checked out the Paralympic site to see possibilities for these Alpha heroes and heroines as you create your fictional worlds? https://www.paralympic.org/sports

My own hero, Joe Gallagher, a cowboy and rancher, in Rocky Mountain Cowboy utilizes a Michelangelo. This multi-articulating prosthetic device is for his transradial amputation. Joe lost his arm from below the elbow when a tractor fell on him. The character of Joe was inspired by amputee cowboy and roper and a hero to me, Barry Landry. Here’s a llink to Barry with his Michelangelo (scroll to bottom). http://armdynamics.com/pages/michelangelo

Beyond the Michelangelo, newer prosthetic devices are becoming popular such as the Bebionic, “a multi-articulating myoelectric hand made by Steeper. It features 14 different grip patterns and hand positions, including the unique mouse grip for using a computer mouse; trigger grip for using spray bottles; and precision grip for securely handling small items.” More information here. http://bebionic.com/the_hand

Now think really advanced prosthesis and check out these amazing heroes and heroines at The Alternative Limb Project! http://www.thealternativelimbproject.com/

 

And finally, I’d like to introduce you to another hero, Travis Mills.

 

“Never give up. Never quit.”- Travis Mills, retired United States Army Staff Sergeant and recalibrated warrior. https://www.travismills.org/

 

I hope I’ve provided you with information to aid you in considering an amputee for your next hero. What are your thoughts? Can you recommend any other books with amputee heroes and heroines or secondary characters?

I’m giving away two copies of Rocky Mountain Cowboy to commenters. Print or ebook, winner’s choice. International readers welcome.

Rocky Mountain Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

http://bit.ly/2hLaH77

The last person cowboy Joe Gallagher thought he’d see on his ranch was high school sweetheart Rebecca Anshaw Simpson. Twelve years after she married another man, she’s back as his physical therapist. But healing his body is nothing compared to guarding his heart from the woman he never forgot.

There’s much the single mom would rather forget, but Becca won’t let regret and a surly rancher get in the way of her job and the chance to start over with her little girl. She has only a few weeks to make peace with her past. But Becca never expected she’d fall all over again for her first love.

Julie Lence: The Poinsettia


We’re so delighted to have Julie Lence come to visit our neck of the woods. She always has something interesting to share. She also has a giveaway so please comment. Please make her welcome.

christmas-divider

me-mediumThe Poinsettia is a native Mexican plant. Its origins trace back to present day Taxco. The poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, Willd, is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and is defined as a female flower, without petals and usually without sepals, surrounded by individual male flowers enclosed in a cup-shaped structure called a cyathium. The Euphorbia genus contains 700-1000 species. The Aztecs in central Mexico cultivated the plant and used the colorful leaves, known as bracts, to make a reddish-purple dye for clothes and makeup. The Poinsettia’s milky sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers.

 

joel-roberts-poinsettJoel Roberts Poinsett is credited as the first American to bring the plant to the United States. A botanist from Greenville, South Carolina, Poinsett was also the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. Best remembered as the founder of the Smithsonian Institute, Poinsett traveled to the Taxco area, discovered the colorful plants growing on adjacent hillsides and had some of them shipped to his home, where he grew them in his greenhouse. From there, he gifted some of the plants to his friends and also sent some to botanical gardens and to fellow botanist John Bartram in Philadelphia. Bartram sent the plant to his friend Robert Buist. Buist was a plants-man from Pennsylvania and thought to be the first person to sell the Poinsettia under its original name. Legend has it the Euphorbia pulcherrima, Willd, became known as the Poinsettia in the 1830’s, after Joel Robert Poinsett.

 

poinsettiaHow did the Poinsettia become known as the Christmas plant? The Aztecs prized the poinsettia and believed it to be a symbol of purity. In the 17th century, Franciscan monks in Mexico incorporated the flower into their Fiesta of Santa Pesbre; a nativity procession. This is the first time the Poinsettia was associated with Christmas, leading Mexico’s Christians to adopt the plant as their Christmas Eve flower. The star-shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. The red leaves represent Christ’s blood and the white leaves symbolize his purity.

 

andrea-sadek-white-poinsettia-figurineOnce the monks included the Poinsettia in their nativity procession, a few legends sprang up as to why and how the plant became associated with Christmas. One is the tale of poor, young Pepita who was upset because she did not have a gift to give to the baby Jesus at Christmas Eve mass. As she made her way to the church, her cousin tried to cheer her up. Pedro told Pepita that even the smallest gift presented to Jesus in love would make the Christ child happy. Pepita picked some weeds and placed them beside the manger. Before everyone’s eyes, the weeds magically transformed into beautiful red flowers. Another tale says it was an angel who told Pepita to pick the weeds and bring them to the church. Regardless, the parishioners swore they’d witnessed a miracle, and from that evening on, the flowers became known as Flores de Noche Buena; Flowers of the Holy Night.

 

short-christmas-stories

Have you gotten a poinsettia this Christmas or have plans to do so? As a Thank You for chatting with me today, I’m gifting 2 lucky winners Kindle copies of each of my 3 short Christmas stories. Merry Christmas Everyone! I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season. Julie

 

**To preview my Christmas stories, please visit Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/author/julielence?tag=pettpist-20

A Wildflower Welcome to Vickie McDonough~and a giveaway!

Vickie is giving away a print copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texans, so make sure to leave a comment and check back to see if your name got picked from the Stetson!

Seven cowboy brothers living on a massive Texas ranch—what’s not to love?

 

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When the concept for this collection was proposed to me and I was invited to be a part of it, I was immediately intrigued and agreed. Having done other collections about families, I knew it would be a bit daunting to keep track of so many brothers and their personalities, different looks and mannerisms, not to mention the ranch staff, and the townsfolk who lived in the closest town, named Hartville, after the Hart family, but it can also be quite rewarding. A collection like this takes extra work to keep every little detail straight. I thought you might enjoy a peek into how one of these closely connected collections is created.

The Master Document started with the most basic info. Note: Each brother had his own “color” and every time he’s mentioned, his name was highlighted to make it easy to find.

The authors and the story order in the collection:

1 – Gabrielle Meyer – HAYS (Son #7) First Comes Love

2 – Lorna Seilstad – CHISHOLM (Son #6) The Heart of Texas

3 – Amanda Barratt – TRAVIS (Son #3) The Truest Heart

4 – Keli Gwyn – HOUSTON (Son #4) A Love Returned

5 – Susan Page Davis – CROCKETT (Son #5) For Love or Money

6 – Vickie McDonough – AUSTIN (Son #1) Mail Order Mayhem

7 – Erica Vetsch – BOWIE (Son #2) Love at Last

The group coordinator, Erica Vetsch, created a thirty-one page, highly-detailed master document, which contained a timeline of the stories, a synopsis of each novella (obtained from the authors), and much more. Here’s the story concept that was included:

Patriarch of the Hart family, George Washington Hart isn’t getting any younger. He’s got seven strapping sons, and not a one of them has had the decency to marry and produce an heir. It is time for George to meddle. He will divide his massive ranch in the Texas Hill country, the 7-Heart, among his sons with the provision that each one marry and settle on the land within the next year. The men, ranging in age from 21-34, all named after famous Texans, are resistant to the idea of settling down, but they’ll be hanged if they’ll lose their inheritance! Each sets about finding a bride in his own way, and in the end, each finds love deep in the heart of Texas.

Erica also created a detailed timeline of the family’s history in Texas. I added the info in parentheses for reader clarity. Here’s a little peek:

1858 Regalo(The Hart’s fancy home) is built as a gift from GW to Victoria (his wife)

1860/61 Houston Hart leaves Texas for California just days before his 18th birthday.

1861 The Civil War begins, Austin, Bowie, Travis enlist in the Confederate Army to fight for Texas’ freedom.

Part of General Hood’s Texas Brigade, they fought at every major battle of the Northern Army of Virginia except Chancellorsville. (Infantry)

1863 Bowie Hart wounded and captured at Gettysburg, spends the rest of the war in a Union Prison. First at the Fort Slocum hospital in NY, then at Elmira Prison. Family is told Bowie died at Gettysburg.

1863, Crockett Hart enlists the day after they bury his mother, Victoria Hart, dies.

Each novella had a section that included a picture of the hero and heroine, a short summary, and the full synopsis. Here are pictures of my main characters, Austin Hart and Rebekah Evans.

 

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At the end of all the synopses info, was a section titled: EXTRAS: Characters, places, pictures and maps. It included detailed info of the various secondary characters that worked on the ranch and lived in Hartsville. Here’s a sample:

RANCH HANDS:

Cody – A young cocky blond haired/blue eyed cowboy who tends to flirt with the potential brides.

Gage – A hardworking wrangler in his early twenties with dark blond hair, which stands straight up in a short haircut. He’s Hays Hart’s best friend and loves to play practical jokes around the ranch.

We had pictures of the massive Hart home, both inside and out. There was also a blueprint of the home to refer back to so that we kept the rooms straight from one story to the next, as well as a map of Hartsville. We even had pictures of the longhorn cattle on the 7-Heart Ranch and Bowie’s dogs. Massive kudos go to Erica for creating the Master Document. I shudder to think how convoluted things might have gotten without it.

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Being a former bookkeeper, I like spreadsheets, so I created a quick-reference chart with key details. I’m posting the majority of the chart but I left off a few things like eye & hair color so it would fit on the page, but this gives you a good idea of what it looked like:

 

2016-11-21-09-15-31There you have it. Collections that are closely connected are lots of fun for readers, but they can be a bit daunting for the authors who create them. But as with any task, hard work usually results in something you can be proud of. Time will tell what readers think of Seven Bride for Seven Texans. It releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order it now.

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Check out the Seven Brides for Seven Texans Pinterest page that Erica Vetsch set up: https://www.pinterest.com/ericavetsch/7-brides-for-7-texans/

Bio:

Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel Award. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award. Vickie has recently stepped into independent publishing.

Vickie has been married for forty-one years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and a precocious granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, doing stained glass, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: http://www.vickiemcdonough.com

 

 

 

Updated: November 21, 2016 — 4:58 pm

The Last Frontier…of Maine~welcome, Dawn Crandall!

Dawn’s got a giveaway going on–a paperback copy of The Cautious Maiden, so please leave a comment!

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Hi, Dawn Crandall here, and I have to confess… I don’t actually write “western” set novels. In my Everstone Chronicles series from Whitaker House, there are a few prevailent settings the high society Everstone family frequents–Bar Harbor (along the coast of Maine and on the same island as Acadia National Park), Boston, Massachusetts and the wilds of Northern Maine at a fictional resort hotel called Everston. Because of the nature of the area, it proved a perfect setting for my characters in the last two books of the series to have to deal with the issues of gambling, brothels and prostitution in the same way thats usually saved for novels of a more western setting.

cautiousmaiden

You might not realize this, but the state of Maine is about the same size as my home state of Indiana and has more than just the Atlantic coast to offer. The entire northern half of the state is ONE COUNTY, and also almost entirely made up of mountain ranges covered in pine trees which have been owned by major lumber companies since the formation of the state. It even boasts the upper end of the Appalachian Trail at Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in the state.

 

Before starting my writing career, I never really gave Maine much thought until I happened to marry a misplaced “Mainer” and then traveled back to visit his family in the northern regions of the state every summer for the last decade or so. I quickly fell in love with the state and knew where I would set the books I wanted to someday write (and eventually did, obviously)!

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More about The Cautious Maiden:

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks; but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.

More about Dawn Crandall

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little boys and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/dawn_crandall

Blog: http://www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com

Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dawncrandallwritesfirst

 

Here is the Amazon link for The Cautious Maiden: https://www.amazon.com/Cautious-Maiden-Everstone-Chronicles-Crandall/dp/1629117501/?tag=pettpist-20

Updated: November 18, 2016 — 9:11 am

Our Guest Blogger, Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is giving away a print copy of A Love Transformed to one lucky commenter. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if…her winner is you!

tracie-peterson-author-photoAfter writing 110 books, most of which are historical in setting, I’m often called The Queen of Christian Historicals. Anybody who knows me, knows that historical research for my stories is important to me. I work hard for accuracy and sometimes that means getting my hands dirty to learn something I want my historical characters to do. In keeping with that I’ve learned to drive a stage coach, tat, make soap and candles, handle firearms, skin a deer, studied and use centuries old patterns for clothing and the list goes on. I once had a wanna-be writer say to me, “Why bother – it’s just fiction?” My response? Because it matters!me-spinning-1

Nothing ruins a story faster for me than an author who hasn’t bothered to do their research. For example, one book I read had characters on a railroad line that didn’t exist. It might have been okay to create a fictional rail line, but the author had a railroad in the west before railroads had been established. I read a story once where the hero and heroine were eating at a famous hotel restaurant – only the restaurant wouldn’t be a part of the hotel for another twenty years. It’s things like that that make me throw books against the wall. Of course, I realize many readers will never know the difference, but to me it’s a sacred trust we the author have with the reader to make the books as accurate as possible. It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. I make plenty, but we owe it to our readers to give our very best.

Recently, I decided to have a character who finds healing and consolation in working with sheep. She enjoys herding the sheep and then learns to card and spin wool into yarn and so I thought I should do the same. I found someone with sheep who also worked with the raw wool. The smelly stuff had to be washed, dyed and carded and so I learned all about that. Next, I found a wonderful woman who is a historical weaver and spinner. She taught me to spindle spin. My yarn wasn’t very even, but it was good enough to use in crocheting a hat.carding

Once I had spindle spinning under my belt, I found a friend who taught me to spin on a wheel. What fun! I found I really took to the process. I loved the feel of the wool in my hands and the methodic, relaxing process of sitting at and operating the wheel. I found it to be great time for prayer. Better still, it allowed me to be able to share the process in my story. Sure, I could have just plunked my character down at the spinning wheel and said “she spun” but I felt that knowing more allowed me to really bring that action alive.spindle-spinning-1

To me learning new things for the sake of the story is important, whether it’s new writing techniques or old day-to-day processes that kept a family alive and well. I love to talk to people who know their history and craft. To me one of the most important aspects of our job as writers is to weave history seamlessly into the story so that the reader finds themselves swept up in the time-period and lives of the characters. My favorite authors are those who can draw me into the story so completely that I feel like I’m there—right alongside the characters. Those are the very best stories of all. So if you ever wonder if the extra research is worth the effort—it is.

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Don’t Fence Me In~Paty Jager, guest blogger

A rousing wildflower welcome to Paty Jager today! Paty lives on a real-life ranch and writes awesome western romance. She’s taking Tanya’s place (who’s recovering from Hawaiian jetlag!) and giving away a copy of Davis: Letters of Fate to one lucky commenter. Please check back tomorrow to see whose name flew out of the Stetson! (more…)

Mail-Order Brides with Lena Nelson Dooley

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As the West was settled, there often were small towns where the residents were mostly, or completely, men. Rough and tumble places where the refinements brought by women were not to be found. In the areas where decent women were few, these women stayed hidden from the general population.

This situation made Mail-Order brides a booming business. A lot of the men sent advertisements to newspapers in the East, trying to find a woman who was willing, for whatever reason, to go West. He would provide a ticket to bring her close to where he lived.

Sometimes, the man lived quite a ways from the town and wanted to marry right away. Other men were willing to help provide a place for the woman to stay while they got to know each other.

You know the women had to be in some kind of dire situation to pull up stakes from where they were and travel a long distance to marry a man she never met. I’ve heard of situations where a woman was left destitute by the death of a spouse. Others were adult brothers and sisters, where the brother gets married and the wife makes the sister’s live miserable in a number of ways.

In some areas, there were marriage brokers, who helped these couples get together. A scary situation to travel far across the country to marry men they’d never bet. Who knew if the letters told the truth? These in-between brokers could research the suitability of the man on the other end of the letters. Many of these marriages were successful, and others were not.

The advent of the railroads as they moved from coast to coast made these connections even easier. Mail traveled faster, so the letters didn’t take so long to get to the destinations, and the brides could reach their destinations with a much more comfortable and quicker means of transportation.

I like reading Mail-Order-Brides stories, and I like to think up reasons for the characters to have problems connecting.

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My first mail-order-bride story has gone out of print, and I’ve released a second edition. It’s a full length novel. The Gold Digger released in April, May, and July. The ebook in April, the print book in May, and the audio book in July. I call this story my heroine-in-peril, mail-order-bride, gone awry story. The heroine is in Boston, and the hero is in Golden, New Mexico.

 

 

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My next mail-order-bride story will release before the end of October. Rescuing Christmas has a totally different story line. It deals with a harsh reality that sometimes happened with these mail-order-brides. Rescuing Christmas will then become the last novella in the Christian Mail-Order Angels collections. These novellas have three editions at this time. Volume 1 contains the first 6 stories. Volume 2 contains the next 5, and my book’s addition to this collection will make it 6. And there’s edition with all 11, and my book will make it 12.

(To view either of these books on Amazon,click on the book cover images)

Do you like mail-order-brides stories?  If so, what have been your favorites?

I love to chat with my readers and fans.  And to show you just how much,  I’ll be giving away a copy of the ebook  Rescuing Christmas to not one but TWO of you wonderful folks who leave a comment on this post.

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Hittin’ the Road! with Crystal Barnes

clbarnes_avatarHowdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and it’s such a thrill to visit y’all at Petticoats and Pistols. And speaking of visiting places, how many of y’all like road trips? I know I sure do.

 

Be it to the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, where you can learn about the daring, brave men who helped bring order to the West. I even learned how to take apart a Colt Peacemaker and put it back together again. Did you know those guns weighed as much as a 5lb bag of sugar?  Crazy!

Perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the Texian Market Days at the George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond, Texas, where you can tour multiple houses from the past, see reenactments, and/or learn how to fire a cannon or spin your own yarn. There are four different homes on this property. The 1830s Jones Stock Farmhouse is a dog-run style cabin with a covered breezeway down the middle. I used this structure as a model for Russell Cahill’s home in book two of my Marriage & Mayhem series, Love, Stock, & Barrel.

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Their 1860s Ryon Prairie Home I’m using as a basis for my heroine’s home in my upcoming story Hook, Line, & Suitor (Marriage & Mayhem, Book 3). (You’ll see some of that Texas Ranger learnin’ pop up in this story too.) This house also has a breezeway, but the wealth of the family is much more easily seen.
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Want another great place to visit in Texas, be it for research or just plain fun? Perhaps you should make a pit stop in Anderson and tour the Fanthorp Inn. The inn was built as a home in in 1834 and later enlarged for hotel purposes. It also served as the area’s first mercantile and post office (1835). You’ll also have the chance to ride a stagecoach while visiting. Why would the inn host stagecoach rides? The inn lay on the stage line crossroads for Houston to Old Springfield and Nacogdoches to Austin.

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Recently, I was blessed to accompany a friend on a research trip to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and boy, did we have a wonderful, memorable time.

 

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To me, that’s what stories are supposed to be too—a wonderful trip with a new friend (or an old one if you like series or reruns, which I do). If the story trail includes some cowboys, desperados, and exciting turn-of-events, even better.

 

How about you? Do you enjoy road trips? What are some of the best places you’ve visited—be it for research or just a fun getaway? Not a road traveler? What are some of your favorite towns/places to visit through stories?

 

I’d love to hear all about them. I love finding new places to visit, plus I’ll be giving away a FREE copy (ebook or paperback) of one of my stories to one of this post’s commentors. (Winner’s choice of title.)

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An award-winning author, bona fide country girl, and former competitive gymnast, Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order. When she’s not writing, reading, singing, or acting, Crystal enjoys exploring on road-trips, spending time with family, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy is one of her favorites. You can find out more and connect with Crystal at http://www.crystal-barnes.com.

You can also on her blog, the Stitches Thru Time group blog, her Amazon Author page, GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page.

Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.

Updated: October 17, 2016 — 7:35 pm
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015