Category: Heroes

Robert Yellowtail, A Crow Indian and an American Hero

Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening (depending on when you’re joining us today)!   I will be giving away the book, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE, to some lucky blogger.  So come on in and leave a comment.  Also, remember that if I pick your name, you must contain me personally (email) to claim your prize.

Today I thought we’d journey into the past, but the more recent past.  Usually I blog about the early or mid 1800’s, but today I hope you’ll come along with me as I tell you the story of an incredible man, Robert Yellowtail, a Crow Indian hero.

The picture to the left is not of Robert, but of a handsome youth taken about this same time in history.  He is definitely Crow — easily identified by the style of his hair and accessories.  Robert may have looked similar in his youth.  Robert Yellowtail was born on August 4, 1889, but was boarded at a government school, away from any his parents and any influence from his tribe at an early age.  He was only four years old.  The 1890’s were an extremely difficult time for the American Indian in general.  Not only was it forbidden by “do-gooders” and government agents for the American Indian to practice their traditional way of life, but Indian land was being looked upon as desirable by powerful corporations who had influence over the government and Indian agents.  Land was needed.  Land was important.  And here were the Indians with “lots” of land, or so it was said.

It was also a tough life at government schools.  No youngster was allowed to speak his own language, or to practice any skill that might be similar to that of the old ways.  The idea was to “kill” the Indian and “give birth” to a “red-white-man.”  Yellowtail was both intelligent and stubborn and gave his teachers much trouble (so would I have done, I like to think).  So much was this the case that Robert was sent to the Sherman Institute in Riverside, California.  California was more tolerant in those days, and here he did very well and graduated in 1907.  He studied law at the Extension Law School in Los Angeles, where he would go on to earn a law degree via correspondence courses.  His main interest was to use the law to help his people.  He also learned to play the clarinet. ?

In 1910, senator Thomas Walsh introduced a bill to open up the Crow reservation to homesteaders. Crow Chief Plenty Coups (one of the most famous chiefs of the Crow) knew he needed someone with knowledge of the law, someone with knowledge of the white man’s ways, and someone stubborn and intelligent enough to fight for the Crow.  He called upon Yellowtail, and Yellowtail rose to the occasion.

It was a seven year struggle, a battle that was fought in courts and in Congress, with Walsh attacking the Crow and Yellowtail in particular ferociously.  However, finally, the Crow won this battle much because Yellowtail was an experienced orator and he went on to speak for hours at the Senate — much like a filibuster.  He simply refused to give up.  At last he won, and the reservation lands were kept under the control of the Crow.  Yellowtail was only twenty-eight years old.

In the following years, Yellowtail’s accomplishments grew even more incredible:

  • In 1919, Yellowtail was needed again in Washington D.C. to help write and fight for (if need be) the 1920 “Crow Act.”  Here he shined.  Using his experience in law for the good of his people, he went on to ensure that Crow Lands would never be able to be taken away from the Crow again.

It’s also important to note that because of Yellowtail’s work, the American Indians were at last “given”  the right to vote in 1924.

In 1934, Yellowtail went on to become the Superintendent of the Crow Indian Reservation.  This might not sound like the accomplishment that it was because he was the first Indian superintendent of his own tribe.  Working under the duty to improve his people’s lot in life, the culture of the Crow flourished under his leadership.

Yellowtail was also a prosperous rancher.  And sometime in the mid-30’s he managed to get the ranchers (whites in the area) to return 40,000 acres of land.  Under his leadership buffalo were brought back to the reservation, as well as some breeds of horses and cattle.

This photo to the left, by the way, is one of my most favorite photos of the Crow.  It has served me well as images of handsome Indian warriors.

The only controversy that shadowed Robert Yellowtail’s life was what happened at Bighorn River.  Commissioners and unelected officials wanted to damn up the Bighorn River.  Yellowtail was completely against it.  In fact fighting that damn consumed him.  The Bighorn Canyon (which the damn would cause to be flooded) was considered sacred. The tribal council sided with Yellowtail, but as we know, those with unscrupulous morals often take underhanded roles to accomplish what they want.

Unity of the Crow began to crumble under the onslaught of rumor campaigns.  Yellowtail, himself, was said to be willing to sell out the tribe.  It was all a lie, but even to this day, this haunts his image.  In the end, Yellowtail was forced to negotiate or lose everything.  He rose to the challenge and demanded the government pay the Crow tribe $1 million a year for 50 years.  And when those 50 years were finished, the Crow would get their land back.

More rumor campaigns ensued.  In the end, Yellowtail lost and the government got everything and paid an equivalent of only $600 per tribal member.  Yellowtail was downtrodden, and the funny thing about it is that the damn is named after him.

But there was another battle ahead, which came much later, in the 1970’s. This time it was over mineral rights (coal) and this time, despite rumor campaigns and attempts to blacken his name, he won.

Yellowtail lived to a ripe old age of 98, but he lives on in the legacy that he left.  Because of him, the reservation retained most of their land, they were able to govern themselves and they hadn’t sold away their mineral rights (and by the way, the offer was a pittance).  It was a different sort of war that he fought, he was a different sort of warrior, but he will never be forgotten so long as the Crow people live.

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Off to the left here, is the cover of a book that I wrote about the Crow, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE.  I’ll be giving away a copy of that e-book today.  And off to the right here is a picture of the cover for SENECA SURRENDER, on sale now.

Now, here’s my question for you today:  In an age where criminality becomes more and more the “norm” for a society, do you think a hero, similar to Robert Yellowtail, with honest concern for his people, has a chance to exist?

All I can say is I certainly hope so.  Come on in, leave a comment

Updated: April 10, 2017 — 10:26 pm

The Life & Times of Sitting Bull — Free Give-Away

bannerHowdy!

And welcome to another Tuesday post, and another free give-away.  Today I’ll be giving away a free Mass Market copy of RED HAWK’S WOMAN.  Please do have a look at the Give Away Guidelines on the front page of our post.  The rules are simple, but one rule I should stress is that unlike some other sites, in order to claim your prize, you have to come back to the site either tomorrow or in a few days to see if you are the winner.  We don’t normally contact you.  Okay?  So please check back late tomorrow evening or the next day.

That said, my next book (which I’m in the process of writing) is about a scout in the Lakota tribe.  The Lakota were the first tribe of people that I wrote about, and I’m particularly fond of these people.  And so since my nose is in history and language books of these people at present, I thought I’d post about one of the most famous of all the Lakota Indians, Sitting Bull.

When I grew up, Sitting Bull was known by every child in school.  And although most of us didn’t know much about him, he was often spoken of as being a great warrior.

SittingBull[1]Sitting Bull wasn’t technically a warrior.  Although he had skills as a hunter and a warrior, he was a holy man of the tribe — a medicine man.  He was born around 1830 or 1831 on the Grand River in South Dakota.  He was a Hunkpapa Sioux (or Lakota).  The Sioux (Lakota) tribe has different bands that make up the tribe.  A band is typically several different families, many of whom are related.

As a child, he had a nickname of “Slow.”  His father, Returns Again was an esteemed warrior and so Sitting Bull seemed destined to be the same, except that as a child he showed little skills as a warrior, thus his name, “Slow.”

Interestingly, he received the name Sitting Bull (I have read several different accounts on how he received his name — but this is an unusual one) because of a fight that he had with another young Indian boy who was from a rival tribe, I believe.  In the fight, he killed the other Indian boy (so the story goes), but was, himself, injured and he was called from then on Lame Bull or Sitting Bull because of the injury he received, which made him permanently lame.

But he rose above that and became fearless in everything that he didSitting Bull_Sioux Indian_Buffalo_Bill_[1] — he was also an excellent rider, an extremely good shot and could endure much fatigue without showing it..  He shot his first buffalo calf when he was 10 and another story goes that because his father was considered rich by Indian standards, the meat from his hunting was often given to the poor.  Because Sitting Bull’s tribe hunted to the far north of the country, they had little dealings with the in-coming culture.  It wasn’t until 1862, when the Santee Sioux from Minnesota were pushed West, that Sitting Bull’s tribe learned about what life might hold on one of the reservations.

The 1860’s started in a bad way, and more ill-feelings between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government ensued.  In 1865, Sitting  Bull led a party and attacked Fort Rice in North Dakota. He so distinguished himself that within 3 years, he had become a chief of the Lakota people.  It was also in 1868 that the Lakota made peace with the United States government in treaty.  But that treaty was quickly broken by the United States government in the 1870’s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  And thus began the famous Sioux Indian wars of the 1870’s, culminating in the complete destruction of the 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer.

Sitting Bull-Sioux Indian Chief-Custer[1]Sitting Bull did not participate in that fight, but having survived the fight, he took his people north into Canada, where they lived for a period of four years.  However, his people began to starve due to harsh conditions, and they demanded to go back to their own country.  Sitting Bull counseled them to remain where they were and tried to assure them that they could survive in Canada, but most  were determined to return, and Sitting Bull led them back to the United States in 1881.  (As a note, there were several different families from Sitting Bull’s band that remained in Canada, and their ancestors still live there today.)

He was held prisoner until 1883, and in 1885, he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show after he had become friends with Annie Oakley.  Although the pay was good, Sitting Bull could little understand the poverty he came to witness while on the road.  He was also routinely booed by the show’s audience, and Sitting Bull is quoted as saying, “[I] would rather die an Indian than live a white man,.”  He quit after only one season.

In the end, Sitting Bull came back to the place where he had been born.  There, he came to support the famous Ghost Dance.  His support of this dance (which determined that the ancestors of the Indians would come back to claim their land), frightened government officials.  It was this, really, that spelled the end of his days.  He was killed by Indian police, in a staged incident where the police insisted he had been resisting arrest.  It was a tragic end, only because this man gave so much of himself for his people.

But there is something to be learned from the life of this very famous man.  It has been said, and I forget by who, that those who do not know history (real history, not that which is generally taught in school) are destined to repeat it.  And so to this end, I would like to cut and paste a piece written by an unknown Lakota upon the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull.

T?at?á?ka Íyotake

(Tatanka Iyotaka)
By: ~Anonymous Lakota

Saturday, December 15th, 2002 was the 112th Memorial anniversary of the assassination of Tatanka Iyotaka, more commonly known as Sitting Bull. This inspirational leader was murdered deep within Lakota Nation territory, a vast area encompassing much of the central and northern Great Plains. Tatanka Iyotaka in his day was one of the most influential leaders on the prairie. Today, he is the most recognizable Indian in the world.

 

Tatanka Iyotaka was not impressed by white society and their version of civilization. He was shocked and saddened to see the number of homeless people living on the streets of American cities. He gave money to hungry white people many times when he was in the large cities.

 

He counseled his people to be wary of what they accept from white culture. He saw some things which might benefit his people; but cautioned Indian people to accept only those things that were useful to us, and to leave everything else alone. Tatanka Iyotaka was a man of clear vision and pure motivation.

Sitting Bull autograph dated on card’s  reverse June 12th 1889.

 

 

 

As is often the case with extraordinary people, Tatanka Iyotaka was murdered by his own people. The colonial force set the weak of his own race against him. A tactic they continue to use. Indian police today carry on the tradition started by the assassins of Tatanka Iyotaka and Tasunke Witko. Indian police harassing, arresting, even killing other Indian people keeps the colony in control. Seeing that their paychecks, just like those of the elected tribal/band councilors, come from the colonial government points to that quite clearly.

 

 

 

The unrelenting love for his land and his people caused the enemies of the Lakota to fear Tatanka Iyotaka. The Hunkpapa Oyate and the Titonwan Lakota had many powerful leaders, but Tatanka Iyotaka will forever remain the icon of traditional, full-blood strength and dignity
Taken from the website:  www.sittingbull.org
What is the moral of this story you might ask?  What is to be learned from it?  I think it would go something like this:  beware the person, people or agency who would tell you bad things about those to whom you are close — and also those who are different from you.  Before you believe what is told to you about another, question that person yourself.  Live in his shoes for a few days before deciding you’re angry.  Unfortunately, there are those who specialize in evil, and there are those who profit from brother fighting brother.  Such people are the real crazy ones — those who would sell their soul for worldly profit.   So that’s what I would take away from this.
Well, that’s all for today.  RED HAWK’S WOMAN is on sale here:  https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5168/red-hawks-woman — there also another cover for the Mass Market version of RED HAWK’S WOMAN.red-hawks-woman
Please come on in and share your thoughts with me about this great man.
Updated: July 25, 2016 — 9:33 pm

Today is Memorial Day!

flag soldiers

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
–Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

 

HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

  1. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
  2. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

 

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Today we celebrate Memorial Day, though celebrate may not be the best word. We remember—that’s more appropriate. Originally called Decoration Day, it was meant to be a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Though it has turned into the unofficial first weekend of summer and most of us spend it picnicking and boating and barbecuing with friends and family, we shouldn’t lose sight of its meaning—its reason.

“Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in military service
to the United States of America.”

Today, let’s take a minute out of our day of boating, eating and celebrating, to remember.  Put down the hot dogs, the baseball bats, the sunscreen, and remember all those who sacrificed for us—both those in the past and those doing so right now—so we may enjoy a wonderful summertime tradition.

Remember Memorial Day!

Tracy Garrett
HER SANCTUARY–available now!

Her Scanctuary Garrett Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double the Trouble or Twice as Nice? by Charlene Sands

Charlene-with-BooksI married a twin of the fraternal variety and we were married nearly right out of high school, so it baffles me why it’s taken me this long to write a twins story!  For me, loving a twin has been twice as nice, and not double the trouble.  But that isn’t always the case. And so, I penned a story about a hunky father of twins, who meets up with trouble in the form of a spirited woman whose car has broken down along the side of the road.  Texas Style.  

In doing my research I found out some amazing trivia about twins:

The word twin is probably derived from an ancient German word twine, which means ‘two together.

1 in every 32 children born is a twin (1 in 65 pregnancies results in a twin birth). Twins account for 1.5% of all pregnancies or 3% of the population.The twinning rate has risen 50% in the last 20 years. This is attributed to an increase in maternal age, wider use of IVF and assisted conception and advancement of medical technology.

 Fraternal twins do run in the family but only on the maternal line. If a mother herself is a fraternal twin, the chance of conceiving twins increases four-fold.
 The rate for identical twins, or monozygotic, multiples is random and universal (no influencing factors) and occurs 1 in every 285 births. They are the same sex, have the same blood types, hair and eye color, hand and footprints and chromosomes, yet have different teeth marks and fingerprints.
 Mirror image twins account for about 25% of identical twins. Their hair falls in opposite directions, they have mirror image fingerprints and if one is right handed, the other is left handed.
 Twins and multiples have been known to develop their own ‘language’ that only they understand. This ‘twin talk’ is known as cryptophasia or idioglossia.
 The world’s oldest twins were born on Feb 14 1803 in Virginia and died at the ages of 108 and 113 respectively. The chances of identical twins surpassing the age of 100 is 1 in 700 million.
 The Yoruba tribe of Nigeria have the highest twinning rate in the entire world (3 sets of twins in every 19 births). The Nigerian people attribute it to their population’s consumption of a specific type of yam. China has the lowest twinning rate with only 1 in 300 pregnancies resulting in a twin birth.
 Up to 22 percent of twins are left-handed. In the non-twin population the number is just under 10 percent.
Twin types and genders are oddly symmetrical. 1/3rd of all twins are identical, 1/3rd are the same sex fraternal and 1/3rd are male/female fraternal. Of the identical twins, half are male/male, and half are female/female. Of the same sex fraternal, half are male/male, and half are female/female.
 Australia produced the world”s first test-tube twins in June 1981.

Twins for the Texan_Sand

AMAZON    BarnesandNoble  HARLEQUIN   ITUNES  KOBO   GOOGLE PLAY

Here’s what they are saying about Twins for the Texan! 

Their explosive attraction is just the beginning of an unexpected journey full of love, parenthood and second chances.  Expressive characters bring authenticity to the emotional and sometimes chaotic aspects of falling love while raising small children. This Billionaires and Babies romance is sizzling!…Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine 

Wyatt is an amazing hero, a wonderful father and an incredible lover. Brooke cannot help but fall in love but she is not sure Wyatt is ready for more. The path to true love is never easy and this one has more than a few rocks to navigate. The story unfolds magnificently as Brooke helps Wyatt by serving as the nanny for his children. He accepts her help and hopes for some more time in other areas as well. It was also nice to visit with Brooke’s brother and her best friend. Charlene Sands knows how to capture us and keep us reading until the last word.  Debby Guyette, formerly of Cataromance 

Do twins run in your family, like they do in mine?  How would you feel about raising twins?  Any fun twin stories? I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours?  Post a comment and be entered in a drawing for my new western ebook release Bachelor For Hire or one of my print backlist books…

Sands-Bachelor-MEDIUM

 

 

The Wind Beneath My Wings & Book Giveaway

MargaretBrownley-header

george

This is the last photo of the two of us together. It was taken at Christmas.

I’m dedicating today’s blog to my husband, George, who passed away on April 3rd.   He was the hero I so often write about in my books and I miss him more than words can say.

Some of you may have noticed that many of the couples in my stories are complete opposites. That’s how it was with George and me.   He met at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Hollywood and even though we had nothing in common, he proposed on the first date. I thought he was crazy. Never one to give up, he persisted until I finally said yes.  Our pastor made us take a premarital compatibility test, which we failed miserably.  Based on the low scores, he tried talking us out of marriage.  Three kids and six grandchildren George said, “I wonder what would have happened had we passed that test.”

When Bette Midler came out with the song The Wind Beneath My Wings from Beaches in 1988 our daughter Robyn was convinced that her father was the inspiration behind it. There’s no better way to describe him.

wagon pic

Photo of George and me taken at Melody Ranch during a cowboy festival.

He spent his entire life helping and supporting others. He was my right hand man and encouraged me to keep writing during all the years of rejection.  A film editor by trade, he never really understood the craziness of the publishing business, but he supported me in every way he could. If any of you reading this won one of my books, you can be sure he wrapped and mailed it.  With each new release, he did the Walmart flybys to make sure my books were displayed properly.

Every conference, convention and book signing found him standing in the shadows, directing any glory my way.   Every day at four p.m. he banged on a pot. That was his signal for me to quit work and join him.  Some days he’d have a cup of tea waiting.  He always seemed to sense when I had a bad day of writing. Those were the days a glass of wine greeted me.  

My dear sweet husband will be remembered for his kind loving heart, gentle warm spirit, abiding faith and ability to make others laugh. He was truly my hero and the wind beneath my wings.

 

Calico Spy V3

To order click on cover.

Tomorrow, April 29th is George’s birthday.  In his honor I’m giving away a copy of Calico Spy, a story about a Pinkerton detective working undercover as a Harvey girl. The last trip my husband and I took together was to Vegas. We stopped in Barstow, California so I could check out the old Harvey restaurant which turned out to be the model for the book.  While I took notes, he took photos for me.  That was the last research trip we took together.

Updated: April 27, 2016 — 7:28 am

The Changing Face of Ranchers and Cowboys and a Giveaway!

Charlene-with-Books

 

I’m a city girl who has always loved stories about the west.  Most of what I learned about ranching and cowboys came from research books like these.  They taught me what everyday life was like to a rancher in olden times.  I came to rely on these books for insight and they proved invaluable to me as I slowly morphed from writing western historical heroes to more modern day heroes of the west.

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s-l1600

Surely the truth about ranching and cowboys is far less glamorous than is portrayed.  The work was hard, the days grueling and long.  Mexican vaqueros were well versed in ranching and taught their counterparts about horses, grazing, feed, cutting and cattle drives. They were the first true ranchers and cowboys of the American West.

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Soon western film and TV stars became household names and introduced to society a whole different image of the rancher and cowboy.   Roy Rogers was my personal favorite. I had a fan girl crush on him back in the day while watching reruns!

Roy Rogers

Bump it up a few years and our image of ranchers/cowboys became much more romantic and women fell in love with the likes of Rowdy Yates aka Clint Eastwood.

Clint Easwood

And then of course, John Wayne came on the scene too and brought with him grit and power and a sense of national pride.  There’s something all American about a rancher working the land. john-wayne-movie-poster-1971-1020222804

 

A generation passes and by now our image of ranchers and cowboys has altered once again to a well educated, smart about the environment, savvy businessman or businesswoman. That’s Scott Eastwood, btw, son of Clint.   The recent success of Pioneer Women too, shows a real interest not only about great country food, but about cowboys and ranch living and women!

scott-eastwood

WU_PioneerWoman_EP104_0053.4289911

 

 

One thing is for certain the appeal of ranchers and cowboys remains constant in the hearts and minds of most people and the romanticism lives on.  I bet you wouldn’t guess by the cover that my newest release is all about a small town rancher! (Yes, that’s my cowboy hunk, Code Matthews)   The Bachelor Auction he gets finagled into brings him up close and personal with his ex-crush and one-time best friend.  Not good, but oh, did I mention this rancher gets his Happily Ever After!

Post a comment here about what fascinates you most about cowboys and/or ranchers and one blogger today will win a book of your choice from my available list!

 

Bachelor Auction release
AMAZON   KOBO  SMASHWORDS   ITUNES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: April 9, 2016 — 11:54 pm

Into the Valley of Death: Texas’s Immortal 32

Kathleen Rice Adams header

 

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—

Fellow Citizens & compatriots—

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.

William Barrett Travis.

Lt.  Col. comdt.

 

The Alamo, 1854

The Alamo, 1854

At dawn on March 1, 1836, the only reinforcements to respond to Travis’s urgent appeal fought their way into the Alamo. The Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers, a hastily organized cadre of boys and men ages 16 to 54, forged through a line of 4,000 to 6,000 Mexican soldados, dodging fire from their compatriots atop the mission’s walls.

All but three of the Rangers rode into history as the Immortal 32.

The story started months earlier in Gonzales, a town in DeWitt’s Colony. Established in 1825, Gonzales became known as “the Lexington of Texas” when the first shot in the Texas Revolution was fired there Oct. 2, 1835. The Battle of Gonzales began over a cannon the Mexican government had given to the Texians in 1831 so they could protect themselves from frequent Indian attacks. In September 1835, as disputes between the Texians and the Mexican government heated up, the governor of Coahuila y Tejas sent 100 Mexican soldiers to retrieve the cannon.

Gonzales_cannon_2005

This cannon, displayed at the Gonzales Memorial Museum, may be the disputed artillery. (photo by Larry D. Moore)

The men of Gonzales — all eighteen of them — refused to give up the artillery. Defiant to the core, they told the soldados  “Come and take it.” The Mexicans tried, the men of Gonzales — later known as the Old Eighteen — held their ground until reinforcements arrived, and the resulting skirmish went to the Texians.

The Mexican Army did not take the defeat well.

Four months later, when Travis, already besieged, sent his final appeal, the men of Gonzales and the surrounding area felt honor-bound to go to the defense of the Alamo defenders. Twenty-five men left Gonzales on the evening of February 27. More joined the group as it traveled. When they reached San Antonio de Béxar, they spent two days trying to figure a way past the sea of Mexican troops. At 3 a.m. on March 1 — knowing their chances of survival were slim — the Rangers made a mad dash for the mission gates, braving the fire of Alamo sentries who mistook them for enemy combatants.

Alamo Defenders Ashes

the crypt

The Immortal 32 fell with the Alamo on March 6. They composed about 20 percent of the Anglo casualties. Mexican troops burned the bodies of all the Alamo defenders, whom they considered traitors.

A crypt in the San Fernando Cathedral purports to hold the ashes of the Alamo defenders. Historians believe it is more likely the ashes were buried near the Alamo.

The majority of the Immortal 32 were husbands, fathers, and landowners. Five had been among the Old Eighteen, and one was the younger brother of an Old Eighteen member.

 

The Immortal 32:

Isaac G. Baker, 21

John Cain, 34

George Washington “Wash” Cottle, 25 (brother of an Old Eighteen)

David P. Cummins, 27

Jacob C. Darst (Old Eighteen), 42

John Davis

Squire Daymon, 28

William Dearduff , 25

Charles Despallier, 24

Almaron Dickinson (Old Eighteen)

William Fishbaugh

John Flanders, 36

Dolphin Ward Floyd, 32

Galba Fuqua, 16

John E. Garvin, about 40

John E. Gaston, 17

James George, 34

Thomas Jackson (Old Eighteen)

John Benjamin Kellogg II, 19

Andrew Kent, 44

George C. Kimble, 33

William Philip King, 16

Jonathan L. Lindley, 22

Albert Martin (Old Eighteen), 28

Jesse McCoy, 32

Thomas R. Miller (Old Eighteen), 40

Isaac Millsaps, 41

George Neggan, 28

William E. Summers, 24

George W. Tumlinson, 22

Robert White, 30

Claiborne Wright, 26

Three men who rode in with the Immortal 32 survived because they were sent out March 3 as couriers or foragers. All three were attempting to return to the Alamo when it fell.

Byrd Lockhart, 54, later served in the Texas army.

John William Smith, 44, became the first mayor of San Antonio.

Andrew Jackson Sowell, 21, became a Texas Ranger.

A monument in the Alamo Shrine commemorates the valor of the Immortal 32, as does an entire cemetery in Gonzales’s Pioneer Village.

Commemorative_monument,_the_Alamo,_San_Antonio,_Texas,_June_4,_2007

A stone memorial on the Alamo grounds honors the Immortal 32. (photo by TheConduqtor)

“Remember the Alamo.”

 

Jane Porter: Life with the Alpha Hero

TheLostSheenanBride-MEDIUM

We’re heading towards Valentine’s Day and I’m in the thick of writing my next, and final, Taming of the Sheenans story, set in Marietta, Montana and I love this series because it celebrates tough rugged men and equally strong women.

The series started with five brothers that grew up together on the Sheenan ranch in Paradise Valley and each of the brothers (including the lost brother, Shane, that shows up this April) is a true alpha hero.

American actors Robert Redford (left) and Paul Newman in a still from the film, 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' directed by George Roy Hill, 1969. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

American actors Robert Redford (left) and Paul Newman in a still from the film, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ directed by George Roy Hill, 1969. (Photo by 20th Century Fox/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

An alpha hero is my favorite hero to write, and read. He isn’t defined by money or success. He might be powerful and successful, but that’s not what sets him apart.

 

What makes him riveting reading is that he is almost always a masculine, primal male. He doesn’t need to be rich, but he must have the means to provide for his woman. And he can and will, because he is strong, mentally and physically.

But alpha males are not perfect. They make mistakes…maybe even more than other men…and that’s because they take risks and they aren’t quitters and they refuse to walk away from a fight where something important is at stake.

john-wayne-movie-poster-1971-1020222804These heroes may have painful pasts, too, and because they’ve had to overcome challenges and tragedies, they can be overly confident. Possibly arrogant.

But when they love, oh how they love. Once an alpha hero finds his match…his mate…he will never be content with another woman.

I adore reading and writing alpha heroes because they sizzle and are sensual in bed (whether they seduce the heroine before marriage or wait til after), but he’s complex, and he demands more from his woman. He doesn’t want a doormat. He wants an equal, and he’s going to demand a lot from his woman. Maybe even in bed.

UnknownA great alpha hero must know how to satisfy a woman. He must focus on her, and focus on her pleasure, ensuring she is going to have the most sensual, satisfying experience of her life. He’s a man that’s gifted in foreplay, and can, and will, put her needs before his.

Readers that enjoy love scenes, want to read love scenes where the hero does satisfy the heroine…but not just sexually, emotionally, too. A great love scene requires connection and time. In real life people are rushed and tired and there might just not be enough foreplay, but in a romance novel, the hero better make sure he has endless time and energy to please his woman.

4343437733_remembering_paul_newman_photos_02152009_43_820x1003_answer_3_xlargeAnd thank goodness this same hero doesn’t ignore his ranch responsibilities. We don’t read about him leaving his socks or boots all over the bedroom. His dirty Wranglers aren’t crumpled on the bathroom floor. His truck isn’t filled with junkfood wrappers. Even better, he always takes care of the livestock and the chores so that she doesn’t have to pick up his slack. No, the great alpha hero in our western romances is concerned about making life better for her. He isn’t there to make life harder, but easier.

images-1I love that.

I love that in a romance, we get a man who wants and needs his woman, but doesn’t want her trapped in the laundry room, or the kitchen.

Heaven.

Do you have a favorite type of hero? What makes him special? I’d love to hear what kind of man makes you swoon! (He can be real or fictional!)  Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 gift card from Amazon!

TheTycoon'sKiss-SMALLWinner announced on the 10th!

PS: In case you’re interested in catching up with my Sheenan Brothers, Book 2, The Tycoon’s Kiss is on sale for .99 until Feb 8th so be sure to get your download soon!

 

Updated: February 3, 2016 — 12:02 am

Chasing the Rodeo

Professional and amateur cowboys intrigue me, as do the equally tough professional bullriders.

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Rodeo in Poulson, MT

Every year I attend 2-3 rodeos, from small regional amateur rodeos in Montana and Arizona, to the National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas, and that doesn’t include the PBR (Professional Bull Rider) events I try to attend each spring.

Fortunately, I never lack for company when I’m heading to the rodeo or PBR. My husband and I have a standing date for the NFR in Last Vegas each December and have tickets for the last three nights of competition, and my writer friends Megan Crane and CJ Carmichael are also always up for a rodeo weekend.

Jane with CJ Carmichael

Jane with CJ Carmichael

Jane with Megan Crane

Jane with Megan Crane

I’ve written a variety of rugged heroes, including cowboys and bullriders, and three of my reader favorites were all professional bullriders: Dane Shelly (She’s Gone Country), Cade King (Be Mine, Cowboy), and Colton Thorpe (Take Me, Cowboy).

9780373754427-284x450These three heroes were tough, hardcore alphas. Dane Shelly walked with a permanent limp, Cade King once dealt with his pain by drinking hard, hitting the bottle to numb his exhaustion and pain, while Colton Thorpe has no desire to ever settle down and be a buckle bunny’s sugar daddy.

I may have inherited my love of cowboys and western stories from my grandfather, an engineer and rancher from El Paso, Texas that loved the land so much he owned three cattle ranches in California and would fly his private plane in and out of the different ranches to help with routine chores and round ups. I spent school holidays on his favorite ranch in the Cholame Valley (forty-five miles east of Paso Robles) where the miles and miles of rolling hills and open land made me think anything was possible.

At UCLA I switched from being a Creative Writing major to American Studies where I could combine my love of American literature with American history, culture and art. My senior thesis was on Mark Twain, and it’s impossible to study American culture without being reminded at every turn that the American West, and our Frontier has shaped our national consciousness. Americans are explorers and adventurers and yes, risk takers. We’re fiercely independent and determined to succeed.

I was lucky to study in depth the literature of our West, reading both the classics from James Fenimore Cooper to Willa Cather, as well as getting an introduction to the greats in our popular culture, like Bret Harte, Jack Schaefer, and of course, the one and only Louis L’Amour.

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The history & reference books about the West in my library at home.

Through reading I discovered one of the defining characteristics of the classic Western hero (or heroine) is strength, particularly inner strength, and this strength, and rugged individualism, resonated deeply with me. It’s not enough to say the right thing, but one must do the right thing. Integrity is also essential, as well as having a clear moral compass.

I’m grateful for my academic immersion in the West. It’s definitely been useful for my career, but as I write a contemporary western hero, not a historical one, I’m always trying to broaden my knowledge and deepen my perspective to better ground my character, making him or her as intriguing and relevant as possible for my readers.

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Ty and Mac tat the PBR, Honda Arena in Anaheim

To get my characters right, I do a lot of research. In fact, at the very beginning of a new story I do far more research and studying then actual writing.

My research can be broken into one of three categories:

1) Reading: I read every reference book, memoir, and bio I can get my hands on!

2) Interviews: I talk to industry experts (in this case, cowboys, bullriders and family and friends)

3) Observation: I attend live events, soaking it all in and noting every detail possible.

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few books that have become essentials in my Western library. I’ve pulled out a few to share with you here, and have listed four favorites by title and author below.

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Favorite Reference Books

King of the Cowboys by Ty Murray and Steve Eubanks

Chasing the Rodeo: On Wild Rides and Big Dreams, Broken Hearts and Broken Bones, and One Man’s Search for the West by W.K. Stratton

Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies, & Bull Riders: A Year Inside the Professional Bull Riders Tour by Josh Peter

Rodeo in America: Wranglers, Roughstock, and Paydirt by Wayne S Wooden

Not every lover of westerns needs to be a rodeo fan, but if you enjoy a great rodeo hero or setting, check out one of the titles I’ve shared above (the top three are my personal top three favorites). You can also learn more about the PRCA and PBR, including rankings, schedules and ticket info at http://www.prorodeo.com and http://www.pbr.com.

tytruckMy next rodeo event? Why, it’s the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in just two months time. And I’ll be attending with my favorite ‘cowboy’, my husband Ty. And okay, he’s not a real cowboy, he’s a professional surfer, but with his Texas roots, he loves the rodeo as much as I do!

country_450x2Giveaway: Are you a rodeo fan? Have you ever been to a rodeo? I’d love to hear about your favorite event or experience and one of you will win a signed copy of She’s Gone Country and some fun Jane Porter reader swag. Winner will be announced here, in the comments, on Saturday, October 10th so please check back to see if that winner might be you!

 

 

 

Updated: October 6, 2015 — 12:21 pm

The Scout, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF and free give-away

bannerHowdy!  And Welcome to another Tuesday Blog!

Before I go into the most interesting part of the blog and tell you some more about the awesome abilities of the American Indian scouts of old, I wanted to say again that I’ll be giving away a Trade Paper copy of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF to some lucky blogger.  This is valued at $15.00.  Just leave a comment and you are automatically entered into the drawing for the book (void where prohibited).

Let me mention again that my schedule is intense and I rarely have a moment to myself most days…and so I rely on you to come to the blog tomorrow (Wednesday — usually at night) to see if you have won.  Sometimes I pick a winner and post it, and never hear from them, and that saddens me because it is a rare occasion when I can find the time to go and look that person up.  So please, please be sure to check back tomorrow — it should be posted by evening — and see if you are the winner, okay?  All you have to do is drop me an email and we’ll figure out how to get a book to you, if you are the winner.  And yes it is true that I am giving away a $15.00 value copy of the book THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF.  So do come in and leave a message.

apachescout4THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, which is just out in Tradepaper format, is a book about a hero who is among other things, a scout.  In researching this profession, I ran across some extremely interesting abilities that these men of old had.  And in my last post I had promised  to cover in more detail how a scout could tell from a mere trail the thoughts, health, etc. of the man/woman/animal who had left that trail.  This information, some of which I’ll quote, comes from the book, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr., a man, who as a young boy was taken under the wing of an old Apache scout, and who was trained by that man as a scout.  Grandfather is what Mr. Brown called this old Apache scout.  So this passage is from this book.

“(Grandfather) defined the tracking that we had done as typical or novice tracking, but the tracking of the scout was defined as master tracking.  Even at the onset, the difference became obvious.  Grandfather told us that the earth was like an open book, filled with stories.  These stories were written not only in the softest ground but also on every other type of soil even on rock…”

arikarascoutMr. Brown goes on to say, “To this day, the greatest tracking thrill of my life was when Grandfather first showed me how to read track “compressions” in impossible soils and on solid rock…”

And here is where one really begins to learn about the old American Indian Scouts (which, let me repeat here — those scouts who worked for the United States army were not the scouts of old).  Anyway, again, another quote from THE WAY OF THE SCOUT, “You must stop looking at the tracks as lifeless depressions in the ground. Instead, and you have noticed inside of the track is a tiny landscape.  There are hills, valleys, peaks, ridges, domes, pocks, and countless other little features.  These features the scouts developed into a science, that which they call the ‘pressure releases.’  It is through these pressure releases that the scout can know everything about the animal or man that he is tracking.  The scouts of my clan could identify and define over four thousand of these pressure releases, and I know of no peoples of the earth that have been able to do the same.”

curlycrowscoutMr. Brown goes on to explain in his book how these pressure releases can be read and identified, and he goes on to say that because man or animals are stabilized by their feet on the ground, they are always in motion and always having to keep balance — even to the tiniest of moves.  It’s because of this constant need to keep balance and shift that produces the “pressure releases.”

IndianScouts2Mr. Brown goes on to say that he and his friend, Rick, who was learning about tracking also, would start to identify their own moods and look at the pressure releases and note the difference between that mood and some other emotion — and study their own tracks — he says that everyone became a source of study.

He even goes on to say that “Grandfather taught us to expand our awareness and tracking beyond even that level.  He would stand beside a tree, point to a missing limb and ask, “How long ago was this done?  What did it and how?  What direction did the cutter come from?  Was his axe or saw dull or sharp, was he right- or left-handed, what degree of strength did he have?  Grandfather told us that we should always hold one question in our minds at all times:  What is this telling me?”

Charles EastmanIndian&boyscoutsBy the way, the picture to the left is a picture of a young Charles Eastman, a Sioux Indian, who became a lawyer for his people.  I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) that it was Charles Eastman who established the Boy Scouts long, long ago.  Charles Eastman also wrote several books with the help of his wife, whom he met in collage.  She was white.  I believe some time ago, there was a television story concerning Charles Eastman and his wife, and I believe that Adam Beach played the part of Charles Eastman.  This was an interesting fact to learn for me, because I have never really known that the Boy Scouts came to us from the American Indian — I had never stopped to consider it until I read about it from either one of Charles Eastman’s books or another book.

adambeachascharleseastmanAt the left here is a picture of Adam Beach playing Charles Eastman.  : )

Well, that’s all for today.  Next blog I’d like to tell you a little about the water dance of the scout.  Did you know there was such a thing?  I can’t help but think sometimes that it is a shame that one culture coming in will often destroy the culture that is there already.  There is so much we could have learned from the American Indian of old.  I always look forward to these blogs so that I can tell you a little about what I’ve learned because I think it so vital to keep these things alive.

SpiritoftheWolf-The-R -- first draftRemember THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF is on sale here:  https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5090/the-spirit-of-the-wolf

Pick up your copy today.

 

Updated: July 27, 2015 — 9:21 pm
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