Category: Native American

The Spirit of the Wolf — The American Indian Scout

Howdy! And welcome to another Tuesday blog. Before I go into the most interesting part of the blog and tell you about the awesome abilities of the American Indian scouts of old, I wanted to mention that I’ll be giving away an ebook of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF. Just leave a comment and you are automatically entered into the drawing for the book — remember to look over the Giveaway Guidelines at the right side of this page.

One other important point:  I rely on you to come to the blog tomorrow (Wednesday — usually at night) or Thursday to see if you have won.  Unlike some other sites, we don’t necessarily contact you if you are the winner.  So please do check back.
apachescout4The reason why I’m giving away the ebook, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF is because it 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.  Now, I find it interesting, indeed, that these men 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 (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 also says 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 mentions 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 had a hand in establishing the Boy Scouts long, long ago.  If he didn’t establish it, he certainly helped to create it.  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 draftAnd so today, I’m giving away a free e-book of THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, one of my stories that delves deeply into the scout and how this influences the heroine of the story.

So come on in, leave a comment, and let me know what you think of this very vital role of the American Indian culture, the Scout.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075Q76CYJ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1505744070&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Spirit+of+the+Wolf+by+Karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

Updated: September 19, 2017 — 6:40 am

Return to Oregon’s Past with Tracie Peterson

We Fillies are thrilled to have author Tracie Peterson with us today to talk about another of her wonderful books and a fascinating slice of Oregon history. Welcome, Tracie!

The last book in my Heart of the Frontier series, Cherished Mercy, debuts this month, and I found myself revisiting research that I did for this series and in particular for this final installment. Cherished Mercy takes place in the Oregon Territory, as did the other books in the series.

However, most of the area where Cherished Mercy takes place is in the Rogue River and coastal area of Southern Oregon. To research the area, I took a trip to the Rogue River, enjoyed a wonderful river tour and took lots of notes and pictures. I read various books about the Rogue River Indians and the conflicts that took place there during the 1850s. After starting the series with the Cayuse attack on the Whitman Mission near present day Walla Walla, Washington, I thought it interesting to contrast the end of the series with the attacks of the whites on many of the various Native American tribes in the Rogue River area.

The Rogue River is a fertile, lush area that provided not only fishing for the native peoples, but also revealed a bit of gold which caused the white settlers to pursue the area in hopes of finding riches. As is often the case, this didn’t prove as bountiful as the miners had hoped. However, it turned up the heat on the already tense relationship between the native tribes and the whites.

There were multiple tribes who called the Rogue River home, but people tended to lump them together as the “Rogue River Indians.” I chose to deal with the Takelma who lived on the Rogue River near Agness.

You can see from this map, however, that there were many tribes that lived along the Rogue River.

The Takelma were an interesting people, not so unlike many of their neighboring tribes. They lived in houses that were dug about halfway into the ground and made of split sugar-pine wood.  Here’s an illustration showing how the natives in this area lived. Often, we think of Native Americans and teepees come to mind, but there were so many different varieties of housing.

Acorns were of immense importance to the Takelma. They used these as a staple in their eating and made flour from them. Camass root and fish were also staples of their diet, but manzanita berries were an all-time favorite.  I did my best to weave in elements of their life and culture in Cherished Mercy.

Sadly, the Rogue River Indian Wars saw our government make big pushes toward the forced reservation system for the American Indian tribes. The Rogue River tribes were moved from a lush forested area along the river where they had fertile soil and plenty of game and fish to live on to an arid, open area of Oregon that was nothing like what they had known. It was called “The Second Trail of Tears.” Thousands would later die of disease, exposure and malnutrition.  It’s a sad time in our history.

I hope my readers will enjoy the conclusion of the series. I’ve loved this little corner of history and I’ll share a secret. I’m already thinking about a second related series dealing with the next generation from these families. I think it’s important that we learn from our history, but also that we cherish and honor it. Every element is important to who we are today and through stories like this, I hope to keep that history alive.

Tracie is offering a great prize to one of today’s commenters. The gift basket contains not only all three books in her Heart of the Frontier series but also some awesome Montana goodies.

Updated: September 12, 2017 — 3:36 pm

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, Excerpt and Free Give-Away

Howdy!  And welcome to the Tuesday blog.  Well, today I’ll be giving away THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR in either e-book format or mass market paperback, winner’s choice.   There is a restriction.  It is limited to the United States only.  There are also the rules for free give-away — over to the right here — that govern our give-aways, so please do give that a read.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverSometimes there’s a problem because some sites out there contact you to ensure you know you’ve won.  But we don’t do that here.  We rely on you to come back in a day or two to see if you are the winner.  If you have won, instructions will be given on how to contact me so that the book can be sent to you.  But you must contact me in order to claim your prize.

Off to the left here is the e-book cover of the give-away book and at the very end of this blog is the mass market cover of the book.

All right.  So with that said, let’s have a look at what I consider to be one of the most fascinating parts of this book, and of this series. This is the first book in THE LOST CLAN series.  Now, this series is set not only within historical times, but within the framework  of American Indian Mythology.  There are a couple of characters in this series of four books which are caught in all four books, and one of those characters is the Thunderer.

The Thunder Being (or sometimes referred to as the Thunder Bird or Thunder God or Thunderer) is central to these stories.   His anger has been stirred up by acts of violence against himself and his children by a clan that is part of the Blackfoot Indians – The Lost Clan.  Interestingly, the Thunder thCACKC4HUBeing plays a dominant role in most Native American tribes — perhaps because when one is living so closely to nature, the Thunderer, who can produce so much damage, would be a subject of much legend.  In this series of books, the Lost Clan has been  relegated into the “mist” by the Creator, who intervened on the people’s behalf when the Thunderer became bent on destroying every single member of the clan.  Imprisoned within that mist, each band of the Clan is given a chance within every new generation to choose a boy to go out into the real world.  That boy is charged with the task of undoing the curse, thus freeing his people from what would be an everlasting punishment (they are neither real, nor dead).  But, not only must the boy be brave and intelligent (there are puzzles to solve within every book), he must also show kindness to an enemy.

th[2]Let’s have a look at the Thunderer and some of the different tales about this being.  In Blackfeet lore, the Thunderer often steals women.  He can take the image of a very large bird — his wings creating the thunder and his eyes shooting out the lightning.  In Lakota lore, if one dreams about the Thunder god, he becomes a backwards person.   He must do everything backwards.  He washes in sand, become dirty in water, walks backwards, says exactly what he doesn’t mean, etc., etc.  The dream is so powerful that it is thought that if one fails to do these things, he courts certain death.  In THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, the hero is one of these boys who is charged with the task of freeing his people.  He is desperate because he only has until his 30th birthday to undo the curse, and the hero of the story is 29, with only a few months left to accomplish this task.  Relying on visions and dreams, he is drawn toward a woman with hair the color of starlight.  But he regards her and his growing feelings toward her, as little more than a distraction, and great suspicion.

thumbnail[5]There is also a legend of the Thunder Being in the Iroquois Nation.  In this legend, a young woman becomes the bride of the Thunderer and through him saves her village from a huge snake that burrows under her village, thus endangering the lives of everyone in her village.  There is still another legend about the Thunderer which you can watch on the Movie called Dream Makers — well, I think that’s the name of the movie (if I am wrong about that name, please do correct me).   In this legend, which is also an Eastern Indian tribe, a young woman marries the Thunderer and goes to live with him in the above world.  But she is returned to her own world when she becomes pregnant with his child.

stortell[1]What is very, very interesting to me is how many and how vast are the stories and legends that abounded in Native America.  Though we often hear or even study the ancient lore of the Greeks, seldom do we read much our own myths — the mythology that belongs intimately with this land we call America — which by the way, to the Native Americans on the East Coast, America is known as Turtle Island.   Fascinatingly, there is a story for almost every creature on this continent, from the crow to the sparrow to the coyote (the trickster), the wolf and bear.  There are legends about the stars, the Big Dipper hosts legends about the Great Bear (Iroquois) and the Seven Brothers and their sister (Cheyenne and Blackfeet).  There are still other tales about the Morning Star and the Evening Star and marriages between the Gods and mortals.

Do you, like me, love these kinds of stories?

In closing, I thought I’d post a short excerpt from the book.

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, by Karen Kay

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverEXCERPT

He stared at her, and in his eyes, Angelia thought she saw a spark of…laughter?

“After all, what trouble could there be, since a man and his wife are often seen alone together?”

Angelia wasn’t certain she had heard Swift Hawk correctly. “What was that again?”

He shrugged. “What?”

“What you just said.”

He gave her a perfectly innocent look and repeated, “Your brother is over by that ridge, trying to discover who trails him.”

“No, not that—that other thing.”

“You mean about my wife and I being alone?”

“That’s it. That’s the one. Your wife? You have a wife?” she asked, feeling more than a little confused.

He said, “Certainly I have a wife.”

She sent him a sideways scowl. “I don’t believe you. Where is this person?”

He grinned. “Right here beside me.”

“Wait a minute. How can I be your wife?”

“Very easily, I think.”

Angelia sat for a moment, dazed. How could this be? On one hand, she was cheered that Swift Hawk was, indeed, very much interested in her. On the other hand, she realized she should have been worrying less and practicing more of exactly what she should say to this man.

Was this what he’d meant when he’d said they belonged to one another? Marriage?

Aloud, she said, “Swift Hawk, have I missed something? I don’t remember a marriage ceremony between us.”

Swift Hawk frowned. “You do not remember? And yet recalling those moments we spent together is forever here.” He pointed to his head, and then to his heart.

“Moments? What are you talking about?”

“You do not remember.” He tsk-tsked.

Angelia grimaced, placing a hand on her forehead, as if to ease the spinning sensation. “There must be something here I don’t understand, because I don’t recall a thing.”

“Ah, then I should refresh your memory. But…surely you do not wish me to do this…” he made a mock glance around him, “…where others might overhear us, or see us.”

“Swift Hawk, please. Be serious.”

“I am.”

She shook her head. “Have you gone crazy?”

“Perhaps, for my wife treats me as though I am nothing more to her than a…” he drew his brows together, looking for all the world as if he were in deep thought, “…friend.”

“You are a friend.”

Haa’he, that I am…plus more. Now, I have something else to tell you, and for a moment, I would ask that we forget all this, switch our duties and I will be a teacher and you will be my pupil.”

“Why?” she asked, still feeling bewildered and having difficulty following his line of thought.

“Because I have a problem in mathematics for you.”

“Swift Hawk, please, we are not doing our lessons now. We are having a discussion about…about…”

Swift Hawk shrugged. “All right. If you do not wish to hear this problem, I will not bore you with it.”

Angelia blew out her breath. “Very well. Tell me.”

“No, I do not wish to disturb you with it…at least not now.”

She sighed heavily. “I’m sorry, all right? I… It’s only that you’ve said some things that have…surprised me, things I don’t understand, and frankly, you’re speaking about a subject that must be discussed by us in greater detail. But by all means, let me hear this problem that you have with mathematics first.”

He ignored the sarcasm in her voice and gave her a look that could have been innocent, but it wasn’t. Before she could decide what he was up to, he said, “Tell me, what is the result when you add a man, a woman, and a morning spent together in each other’s arms?”

“Shh. Swift Hawk. What are you doing? Say that quietly.”

“Very well.” Lowering his voice, he whispered, “What do you get when you add—”

“I heard you the first time. Swift Hawk, really, it…it…wasn’t like that… It was…” She stopped, for she seemed incapable of uttering another word.

Now was the time. Now she should tell him.

Angelia opened her mouth to speak, took a deep breath, then held it. How in the name of good heaven could she begin?

She shut her mouth, thinking, summoning her nerve to say what must be said.

Swift Hawk leaned in toward her. “Ah, I can see that you understand. Now you must observe that all of these things, added together, equals a marriage, does it not?”

“No, it—” Angelia shook her head, exhaling sharply. “It does not equal marriage. There was no ceremony.” She said every word distinctively. “But let’s not quibble. Not now. Not here, where we might be overhead. Besides, we forget that Julian might be in trouble. Now, if you would be so kind as to lead me to my brother, I would be much beholden.”

“How beholden?”

Angelia rolled her eyes. “Please, will you take me to him?”

“Yes, my wife,” said Swift Hawk seriously, though she could have sworn that a corner of his mouth lifted upward in a smile. “Truly, my wife, I will do anything you say.”

“Please, if you must say that, say it softly.”

“Very well.” Leaning up onto his elbows, Swift Hawk spoke quietly, for her ears alone, “Yes, my wife. I am yours to command, my wife.”

Angelia raised an eyebrow. “You are mine to command?”

“It is so.”

“Good. Then I command you not to speak to me of this again.”

Smiling, Swift Hawk inclined his head. “Very well. I will show you instead how eager I am to please you.” He held out a hand toward her.

Angelia rolled away. “Swift Hawk!” she uttered sharply, under her breath. “Stop this at once. Just…just take me to my brother.”

“Yes, my wife. Anything you say, my wife…”

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR by Karen Kay

 

Updated: May 22, 2017 — 9:33 pm

The Surprising History of Fort Pickens

The entrance to Fort Pickens.

I love visiting historic sites, particularly those that are so well preserved by the National Park Service. I’ve been to numerous ones throughout the West that are rich with that western culture and history we love here at Petticoats and Pistols, but you might be surprised that there exists such a place with western ties near where I live in the Florida panhandle.

Fort Pickens, which is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, has ties to American history going back to three decades prior to the Civil War. After the War of 1812, the U.S. government decided it needed fortifications to defend its major ports. Several were build to protect Pensacola Harbor. Among them were Fort Pickens, which sits on the end of Santa Rosa Island across the harbor’s entrance from Naval Air Station Pensacola, home of the famous Blue Angels demonstration flying team. On days when the Blue Angels are practicing, you can watch them from the fort.

The fort is filled with these types of arches.

Though we all learned that the first shots of the Civil War occurred at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, some say that they actually happened at Fort Pickens on Jan 8, 1861, when U.S. forces at nearby Fort Barrancas fought off a group of local civilians who intended to take the fort. Barrancas was abandoned in favor of the more defensible Fort Pickens. Two days after the attack on Fort Barrancas, Florida seceded from the Union. The fort was one of only four in the South that remained under Union control throughout the entire war.

The tie to the West came after the end of the Civil War, during what was known as the Indian Wars. Native American captives were transported east for incarceration. Apache war chief Geronimo; Naiche, the youngest son of Cochise; and several warriors were held at Fort Pickens, separated from their wives and children, who were held at Fort Marion in St. Augustine.

Band of Apache Indian prisoners at rest stop beside Southern Pacific Railway, near Nueces River, Tex. (Geronimo is third from the right, in front), September 10, 1886. Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain

Part of the reason the men were housed at Fort Pickens was because some in Pensacola felt Geronimo’s fame would enable the city to draw tourists, as horrible as that is to contemplate now. Tourists had to obtain permission from Colonel Langdon and then pay for a boat trip to the island so they could see the Apache prisoners. The Apaches were housed in two rooms that were built to house cannons and worked seven-hour days clearing weeds, planting grass and stacking cannonballs. In April of 1887, the prisoners’ families were brought to live with them at Fort Pickens. Fort Marion saw many deaths of Apache prisoners, but in contrast there was only one death at Fort Pickens. One of Geronimo’s wives, She-gha, is buried in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola.

From the top of the fort, you can look out over the Gulf of Mexico.

A yellow fever scare led to the the move of the prisoners to Mount Vernon Barracks north of Mobile, Alabama, in 1888. Six years later, they were moved to a reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where Geronimo died in 1909, still a prisoner. In 1913, the prisoners were finally released. Some chose to remain at Fort Sill, but Naiche, the hereditary chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, and his family returned to New Mexico, to the Mescalero Reservation. Between 1850 and 1914, the Apache population had dropped a dramatic 95 percent.

The fort is full of displays such as this telling the long and rich history of the site. There is also a gift shop full of books if you want to learn more about the fort, historical figures and the time periods during which the fort operated.

Fort Pickens received some updates in the years that followed, partially to help guard against the threat of German U-boats, but by the end of World War II it had outlived its usefulness. It spent some time in the state parks system of Florida but has been part of the national seashore since the early 1970s. Today visitors can spend hours walking through the seemingly endless rooms of the fort, climbing to the upper level to look out over the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay, and imagining all the history that resides at the spot.

Updated: April 2, 2017 — 6:28 pm

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

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving & The American Indian

banner 2Howdy!

Welcome to the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

And thanks for coming to the blog today.  I will be giving away a Tradepaper copy of SENECA SURRENDER to some lucky blogger…a value of $13.99.  So come on in, leave a comment.  That’s all one has to do to enter into the drawing.  On the right side of the page here are the Giveaway Guidelines.  Please read them as they are the rules that govern our giveaways.  Note, too, that I depend on you to come here on Wednesday or Thursday to discover whether or not you are the winner.  Unlike some other sites, we do not contact you.  Okay?  On with the blog.

seneca-surrender-ad-graphic

Last week I did a radio interview and we talked a great deal about SENECA SURRENDER and the Iroquois Confederation — and I thought I’d post it here before we get into the actual subject of the blog today — it’s about 30 minutes long.  So if you have the time, come and give it a listen:

http://www.speakuptalkradio.com/karen-kay-speaks-up/

thanksgivingYummm…  The smells of pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce remind me that Thanksgiving is close at hand.

Of course we are all pretty much aware that   our Thanksgiving comes from the Eastern Indians, and in particular Squanto — and if you didn’t know about Squanto, I would highly recommend the movie, Squanto, starring a young and dreamy Adam Beach.  Sigh…

But what was this festival called Thanksgiving?  Did it happen just this one time?  Was it due to the Indians’ wishing to acknowledge the newcomers, as I was often taught in school?  Was there more to it?  Well, I do believe that there was … is more to the story as Paul Harvey used to say.  So do read on.

Thanksgiving was one of several festivals amongst the Eastern Indians — in particular I’m talking about the Iroquois.  However, these ceremonies were common to all the Eastern tribes.  There were many festivals throughout the year, and they tended to follow the seasons.

The Iroquois celebrated six festivals, wherein they gave thanks to the Creator for all they had.  These festivals would open with speeches by leaders, teachers, and elders.  And of course there was much dancing, which was done not only for the fun of simply dancing, but it was also a sense of worship.  It was thought that because the Creator needed some sort of amusement, thus He gave the people dancing.

In spring — early March — it was time to collect together tree bark and sap – this was needed to repair houses and other things, such as canoes, bowls, etc.   Spring was also the time for planting.  This was the maple festival.  Next was the Planting festival.  Here prayers were sent to the Creator to bless their seed.

The Iroquois’ main food source was corn, beans and squash (the three sisters), and of course deer meat or other meat when available.  Family gardens were separated by borders that were broad and grassy — they would even camp on these borders and sometimes they were raise watch towers.

The next festival of the Iroquois was the Strawberry Festival.  This is where the people gave thanks to the Creator for their many fruits (like strawberries).  It was summertime.  The women gathered wild nuts and other foods, while the men hunted, fished and provided various meats for cooking.  Again, each festival was greeted with much dancing and merriment.  Did you know that the some Iroquois believed the way to the Creator was paved with strawberries?

The festival after that was the Green Corn Fesitval.  Again, the people thanked the Creator for the bounty of food that had been raised all through the summer.  Dancers danced to please the Creator and musicians sang and beat the drum.  Again there were many speeches to honor the people and the Creator.  There were team sports.  Lacrosse was the game that was most admired and it was played with great abandon by the men.  Women played games, too and often their games were as competitive as the men’s.

The season festival following that was…are you ready?  Thanksgiving — or the Harvest Thanksgiving.  By this time the women had harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Much went to feed families.  Husks were made into many different items.  Dolls, rugs, mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  Now was the time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  Again, there was much celebration.  Dancing, speeches, prayer.  And of course — food.  It was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Can you guess what the next festival was?  Although this is a Christmas tree, it was not a celebration of Christmas — but if you guessed this, you were very close.  The next and last festival of the year was New Year’s.  At this time, a white dog was sacrificed as a gift to the Creator.  This was also a time for renewing the mind and body.  (Does that not remind you of our New Year’s resolutions?)  At this time, the False Face Society members would wear masks to help others to cleanse themselves of their bad minds and restore only their good minds.  There was again much celebration, much dancing, much merriment and enjoyment as each person would settle in for the long winter ahead of them.

The First Americans indeed did give this country very much, not only its festivals which we stillremember to this day, but also it gave to this nation a fighting spirit for freedom.  In these times when there seems to be a forgetfulness about our American roots, it is wonderful to remember that the American Indian and the Love of Freedom went hand-in-hand.  I know I am thankful for my family and my husband and daughters and my granddaughter and grandson.  I’m thankful to be able to travel this beautiful country.  I’m thankful that I was raised in a country where one could voice one’s opinion regardless of the wishes of the “King,” even if those freedoms are not as easily found today as they once were.

How about you?  What are you thankful for?  What has influenced your life for the better?  And what will you be doing for Thanksgiving this year?

Come on in and join in the discussion.

Seneca Surrender is on sale here:  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=seneca+surrender+by+karen+kay&sprefix=seneca+surrender%2Caps%2C202&crid=2P5VYCPDHG7QI&tag=pettpist-20

Pick up your copy today!

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Updated: November 21, 2016 — 11:05 pm

SENECA SURRENDER, An Interview

banner 2Howdy!

And welcome to another Tuesday blog.  Well, SENECA SURRENDER has just been released in e-book format — here is the Amazon link to the book:  https://www.amazon.com/Seneca-Surrender-Warriors-Karen-Kay-ebook/dp/B01M3QAE67/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478576809&sr=1-1&keywords=SENECA+SURRENDER+by+Karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20.

In celebration of the release, I thought I’d give away one e-book copy of SENECA SURRENDER to some lucky blogger — but also, just to celebrate the release of SENECA SURRENDER, I’ll also be giving away a mass market copy of the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE to another lucky blogger.  So do come on in and leave a comment.

Recently, E.E. Burke posted a blog and interview concerning SENECA SURRENDER.  You can still go and see that particular blog, and here is the link:   http://getlostinastory.blogspot.com/2016/10/get-lost-in-american-indian-historical.html

So I thought I’d repeat the interview here on Petticoats and Pistols.  So grab that cup of coffee and sit back, and I do hope you’ll enjoy the interview.

 

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  • What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?

 

As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to the life and times of the American Indian.  I grew up in the 50’s and still remember always being on the side of the Indians, even if they were portrayed in an unfriendly light.  Always, I felt that there was another side to the story.

 

And then there’s my daydreaming about love and romance when I was practicing the piano.  I’d make up stories or scenes to what I was playing – I still do this.

 

And so when I picked up pen and paper (literally), two things drew me to this genre:  My love of romance and my love of the American Indian culture.

 

  • What inspires you daily?

 

rwa-2012-001In truth, this would have to be my husband.  I met him when I was writing GRAY HAWK’S WOMAN.  Our first kiss is in that book, and he continues to find his way into my stories, even if I don’t intend it.

 

Then there’s history – real history – or perhaps I should say the truth.  : )  It’s a real eye-opener to read accounts of people who were there at the time.  I think I can truly say that the old saying that  “the winner is who writes the history” is true.  The truth is rarely found in history books in school.  At least this is what I’ve found.

 

And so I find it inspiring to find the truth of different aspects of the American Indian way of life and to write about it.

 

  •   Is writing or story-telling easier for you?

 

This is an easy question for me.  Story-telling is hands down easier for me.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself a story teller first and a writer second.  Lately I’ve been telling my grandchildren stories off the top of my head – mostly because my grand daughter found out that I write stories and she’s asked me to write a story about mermaids for her.  And so I’ve been telling her several stories lately to see which she likes the best.

 

So definitely story-telling.

 

  • Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?

Yes, I do write to music – sometimes.  When I’m actively creating a story I find music helps.  However, if I’m editing my work, sometimes it detracts, cause I get lost in the words of the song or some such thing.  Then, there’s just the fact that I love music and so it’s a real pleasure to turn on music that I love and write to it.

When I was growing up, my brother and sister and I had to practice the piano and our other instruments every day.  As piano playing grew easier for me, I found I would start making up stories to fit the song – especially if that piece was beautiful and romantic.

seneca-surrender-ad-graphic        I write to all different kinds of music.  The only thing I look for in a song is if it inspires me.  If it does that, then I’ll play it while I write.  Right now, country music inspires me, particularly Keith Whitley songs.  But in the past I’ve written to classical music, opera, Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy operetta, and sometimes contemporary – but rarely contemporary unless it’s country.  I find the classical and the old country  sad songs have a lot of heart and that makes a difference when I’m writing creatively.

 

  • How often to you get lost in a story?

 

Actually I get lost in almost every story that I read.  I have my favorites, of course, but I get lost in these stories. ..particularly if the stories are about something that I write.  And that includes all genres.  I’ve had to give up horror stories, however, as they can cause me to lose sleep.

 

Once on a writing tour, I was driving at night (not something I usually do).  But this time I was.  I had a book on tape playing in the car – and it was a scary story, and I was really frightened.  I decided after that to never listen to this kind of story if I’m driving when it’s dark – even if it’s early evening.  : )

 

But I get lost in stories and am known to stay up getting no sleep whatsoever rather than put a book down.

 

  • What’s the first book you remember reading?

That would be Fairy Tales, I think.  It might have been Cinderella or maybe Alice in Wonderland.  It might even have been Woody Woodpecker – remember him?

Or it might have been Dick and Jane from school.  But I like to think it was Fairy Tales.

Now the first romance book that blew my socks off was a library book entitled THE PINK DRESS.  I read it over and over and over and over.  It was a teen romance, and I literally fell in love with the genre right there.

 

  • Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?

lila-paul-me-313This is a really easy question for me.  A real-life hero I’ve met is my husband.  And who has he saved? Well, me for one.  After my divorce early on in my career, I wanted nothing more to do with men, marriage, relationships, or even dating.

My husband turned all that around form me by simply being kind.  Yes, he’s a real man, who very much loves things that men do (cars, gadgets, trucks, etc).  But he is one of the kindest people that I know.  He tempers the forcefulness of a man with kindness – and that’s about the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.

Who else has he saved?  Two of my cats – he literally saved one of my cats lives, and found a lost cat, whom he saved.

He is a hero.  Truly a hero.  Above here we are with our granddaughter.

 

  •  What is your real opinion about books?  Why are we drawn to them?

Well, I think of books in a rather intense way.  I believe they help us through difficult times, and some of the stories I read are as though those characters become real people.

It was when my own children were young that I sat up and took notice of romance books.  I’d always read stories – mysteries, romance.  But if I’d had a choice to play outside or read – it was always outside that I would choose.

But when my kids were young, my husband was often gone.  And he didn’t support me or the kids when he was gone – usually because he was doing some study or apprenticing, and so he wasn’t making money.

This left it to me to be everything, from earning the money – to paying the rent – to buying the food – to taking the children out each day – to planning and cooking the meals, etc., etc.  Yes, daycare helped.  But the brunt of the raising of the children was left to me.

It was during this period that I discovered that books could take me places, could ease fears, could sympathize when I needed it, could even educate me on things I didn’t know.  And all of these books were romance books.  Every single one of them.

I gave up reading almost any other genre at this time because romance books ended well, and I knew that no matter what, the characters would work it out.  They were…delightful, inspiring and they helped me through a tough time period.

I’ve never forgotten that.  And so when I write, I try to entertain, yes, but I always remember that I need to take people to other places, other times and that the most important thing is that this book becomes a companion when one needs it, and sometimes that’s all we need to get through these trying times.

I love writing.  I love this genre and I fall in love with my characters – and other people’s characters too.  And this is probably the reason why I write.

Well, that’s it for the interview.  Sure hope you enjoyed it.  So come on in an leave a comment.

https://www.amazon.com/Seneca-Surrender-Warriors-Karen-Kay-ebook/dp/B01M3QAE67/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478576809&sr=1-1&keywords=SENECA+SURRENDER+by+Karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

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Updated: November 7, 2016 — 11:21 pm

Herbs, Magic and the American Indian

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Good Morning!  or Afternoon!

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of your choice (except SENECA SURRENDER, which is not released yet) to some lucky blogger.  So come on in and join in the discussion.

With the advent of modern technology (I was just reading an article about vaccines and nanotechnology implants and how microchips — or nanochips can be added to vaccines).  I read both viewpoints (good and bad) and looked at all the things that can go wrong (or right), and I thought it might be prudent as well as a little fun to have a look at herbs, American Indian style.

I guess there’s always been “black magic.”  Many years ago I met someone who had at one time been a witch (not a good one), who had seen the error of her ways and had changed her whole life.   It was the first time I had run head on with the fact that there really is “good magic,” and “bad magic.”  Good magic would of course promote health and the feeling of well-being.  It would aid one in survival and help one’s family and friends.  Black magic would of course be the opposite.  It would promote death and destruction of oneself, one’s family and friends.  Perhaps even of the whole human race.  In some ways I view this nano technology when it is married with vaccines as a bit of black magic.

Getting back to Native American, however, from different studies I’ve done, it’s now pretty apparent to me that there were witches and people (men and women) who engaged in the black arts in most of Native America.  Witches were feared and if one were suspected of being a witch, one might be driven out of the tribe.  Medicine men (or women) often countered the “spells” of those whose intentions were hardly helpful.  Often in order to counter these “spells,” they used herbs.  They also used song, and the power of one’s personality and wit to drive out the evil spirits.

I’ve often thought there was something very different and very special about the American Indian medicine man.  (Medicine in Native America meant originally mystery to do certain things, often having to do with healing or helping others.)  After reading much about them and about many of the cures that they delivered, I’ve begun to think of them in a very special way, indeed.  Often they were called upon to counter an evil spell, to heal the sick, to foresee the future for the tribe or war party.  They were generally very able not only in their physical body and mind, but in spirit.

But getting back to the original subject, which is herbs and “magic,” did you know that these medicine men or women, when going hunting for herbs, would first prepare their baskets (where they place those plants they had picked).  The baskets would be sprinkled with tobacco and would remain this way overnight.

Early the next morning the medicine man or woman would pray — actually all the American Indian tribes I’ve studied prayed first thing in the morning.    Then in the crisp autumn morning, the medicine man or woman would start on his/her journey to hunt for herbs.  The medicine man or woman would bring bundles of tobacco or wampum, beads, silver ornaments, quilled bands — many different things to offer as a sacrifice to the spirit of the plant.

They collected many different things — apple roots, hickory bark, sassafras, mandrake, prickly ash, wintergreen, elder bark, golden seal, ginseng, male fern, mint, sheep sorel, witch hazel, spruce, boneset.  The way in which the plant was picked was also important.  If one wanted its medicine to work and to cure, then one spoke to the plant first.  It was the Seneca prophet, Handsome Lake who is quoted as saying, “Now let this be your ceremony when you wish to employ the medicine in a plant:  First offer tobacco, then tell the plant in gentle words what you desire of it, and then pluck it from the roots.  It is said in the upper world that it is not right to take a plant for medicine without first talking to it.”

Can you imagine Big Industry to do that today?

Often the medicine man or woman would chante a song, singing to the plant to tell it what one intended and to let the plant know that seeds would be planted so that the plant would continue to live.  Then when the plant was at last pulled, its seeds would be planted, as one had promised the plant.  Only in this way would the plant help to remedy the ills that would often befall those in the tribe.

Did you know that prior to the white man coming to this continent, there were no contagious diseases in America, except maybe one or two.  It was also believed that the air, sun, pure water and exercise were remedies for many common ills.  Many thought of sunlight as food, thus, when the white man came, blocking himself off from the sun by wearing so many clothes, the American Indian considered him unintelligent, and was not surprised when he seemed sickly and ill.

Of course now we know that Vitamin D3 comes mainly from the sun — and nutritionalists are finding this vitamin (D3) to help in so many of our modern ills.

The medicine man or woman would bring his precious find back to his home and would dry them, being careful not to let any impure person come near them.  Medicine men and women were often very successful.  But whether it was because of their herbs, their personal power or a certain magic that they developed over time, is hard to discern.

But I thought, after reading about this nano-technology and those who would seek to profit from this technology by subjecting another to his whims (against the other person’s will), it might be nice to look at those things that help, those remedies that heal and those things that have been with man probably as long as there has been a man alive.  Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog and hope you’ll come on in and leave me a message, maybe quoting things (remedies) that help to bring hope and happiness and well being to those in one’s care.

On October 27th, SENECA SURRENDER, will be released — and so I thought I would leave you with an excerpt concerning a particular herb, from the book.

SENECA SURRENDER by Karen Kay — an excerpt

 

Her touch was as cold as a blizzard in the dead of winter. He reached out for her, but she giggled and moved out of his grasp.

He followed her. “Wait for me,” he called, but she had the advantage of floating over the grasses and tree trunks.

She stopped suddenly, allowing him to catch up to her. She gazed up at him and smiled, her round and pretty face mirroring her delight. Then she pointed to the plant that grew directly beneath her feet.

He recognized that plant. It was one his grandmother had often collected. Its root was used for…

He awoke from his sleep suddenly. Where was he?

Glancing around him, he realized he had never left the cave. It had been a dream, of course. Looking up, he took note of Little Autumn in the foreground, working over the fire, and he sighed.

Ah, she was beautiful..

She was stoking the flames of the blaze in an effort to cook something, which smelled very much like a stew. The aroma of it was intoxicating and rich with the scents of bone broth, wild spices and fresh herbs, and as he inhaled deeply, his stomach growled.

Narrowing his gaze on her, he studied this woman more closely. Her beauty was, indeed, without comparison, and remembering all she had told him earlier, he found it singularly odd that, indentured servitude or not, she had never married.

Her hair had escaped the knot she’d used to tie it back, and golden-blonde tendrils fell in loose ringlets around her face. Her dress was simple, a casual affair consisting of a tight-laced structure that made her waist look as if he might span it with his hands. Petticoats that were stiff and hooped on the side brought her a measure of dignity, though the front of her gown was dangerously low at her chest, beneath which her nipples played an enticing game of peek-a-boo with him.

A curl bounced around her face while she worked, and he knew a desire to twirl its softness around his finger so he could study the differences in its color, from pale blonde to tawny to daffodil. She was a delicately built woman, small and feminine, and without consciously willing it, his loins stirred to life as he watched her at her task.

To counter the effect she was having on him, he sat up, yawned and stretched. “I believe I know how to keep you from becoming pregnant.”

She clasped her hand to her chest and sent him a surprised look. “You gave me a fright, sir. I didn’t know you were awake.”

“I have roused myself only recently.”

“Yes, you have been asleep for some time. I’m glad you were able to rest easily and long. I have meanwhile made us a soup for our supper. There were many roots and vegetables that you collected, and I have used some of them.”

“It smells like a feast, and I am hungry.”

She picked up one of the shells that he had fashioned into a bowl and using it, scooped out some soup. “Shall I bring the stew to you?”

“I can come there to you.” He struggled to get to his feet. It wasn’t as easy as he’d thought it would be, and he had almost collapsed before she rushed to his side to steady him.

“What are you thinking?” she scolded. “You need rest in order to recover. One would suppose, the way you are acting, that you battle with bears daily.”

He smiled. “Almost.”

She helped him to sit back upon his bed, then straightened the blanket and pine boughs around him. “I’ll bring you the soup.”

“Good.” He shut his eyes. “Good.”

She was gone only a moment. “Careful,” she said as he made to take the shell full of broth and vegetables out of her hands. “It’s hot.”

He grinned at her and caressed her fingers as he accepted the shell. When she didn’t pull away, he stared straight into the depths of her gentle blue eyes, as though by doing so, he might see into her soul.

He murmured, “I was watching you as you worked.”

“Were you, sir?”

“Yes.”

“And what did you see?”

“A beautiful woman. A woman I would like to spend the rest of my life with, if only things were different.”

She gazed away from him. “But they are not different.” She pulled her hand away from his. “Do you like the soup?”

He took a sip. It was very good. “You spoke true. You are an excellent cook.”

She smiled at him, and as she did so, it was as if the sun shone upon him, even in this dark and dreary cave. It was the sort of grin that made him feel as if he were seventeen again, complete with all the wild impulses of the very young. So lovely was she, he might likely die a happy man to simply look at her.

Upon that thought, he drank the rest of the soup without once dropping his gaze from hers. Indeed, with his eyes, he caressed her. At last, the stew was gone, and he handed the shell back to her.

“Would you like some more?”

Nyoh, yes, please.” He watched as she came up to her feet and stepped toward the fire, admiring the feminine sway of her hips as she moved. When she returned, he again caught her hand, only this time he didn’t let it go. “I have found a remedy for one of our problems.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, I have come to realize there is a root that grows with profusion in these woods, and that, if I prepare it in the correct manner, it might well keep you from becoming pregnant. I used to watch my grandmother make medicine from these roots. Hopefully, it is not too late in the season for me to find this plant and pull it up, roots and all. I will begin a search for it as soon as I’m able.”

As he stared at her, he took note of the rosy color flooding her countenance, even as she glanced away from him. But she didn’t withdraw her hand from his.

In due time, he said, “In my dreams, Wild Mint showed me this root. I had forgotten it. But I was never apt at learning all that my grandmother knew, though she did try to instruct me.”

Sarah frowned at him. “It is a shame your grandmother wasn’t able to teach you all of her skills. I’m certain she knew much more about these things than I will ever know. But, sir, I would like to note an observation.”

He nodded.

“Has it ever come to your attention that you speak of Wild Mint as if she were a living being?”

“Indeed I do. That is because she does live, but no longer in the flesh…”

 

SENECA SURRENDER — Due for release October 27th, 2016.  The presale is on.  Pick up your copy at:

https://www.amazon.com/Seneca-Surrender-Warriors-Karen-Kay-ebook/dp/B01M3QAE67/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477331109&sr=1-1&keywords=seneca+surrender+by+karen+kay&tag=pettpist-20

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The Scout & Free Give Away

bannerHowdy!

Welcome to another Tuesday and a Free Give-Away.  Today I’ll be giving away a free copy of the mass market copy of WAR CLOUD’S PASSION.  If you go to our main page, you’ll see a link to the guidelines that we use here at Petticoats & Pistols.  Just be sure to check back on Wednesday or Thursday to see if you are the winner, because we don’t usually notify you — we count on you coming back.

One of the facets of the American Indian culture that fascinates me is the scout.  Many times the hero of my stories is a scout — not a chief or a medicine man — but a scout.  Why?  I hope that by the end of this blog, you’ll have a really good understanding of why this particular being in the American Indian culture was so very, very important.

apachescout3Traditionally, the North American Indian called their scouts wolves.  It was a compliment.  These scouts were the most trusted individuals within the tribe, belonging to a mysterious medicine society (medicine meaning a cause for wonder — often involving healing or mystery).  Upon their trusted words stood the well-being and safety of every person within the tribe, from chief on down to the tiny baby.  Even chiefs bowed to the wisdom and opinions of the scout.  These men were warriors, trackers, and trailblazers.  But most of all these were men of incredible skill and pride.

indians on the hillThe identity of the scout was sometimes unknown to many others in the tribe, because the scout was often in disguise.  He used the tools that he was given by nature to affect these disguises — mud placed all over his body (sometimes the scout even made “ears” like a wolf out of the mud), a wolf-pelt, buffalo belt, etc.  He faded into the environment so much that he was often never detected.  It was an honor for a scout to fool another scout — a very hard thing to do.

I have several books that are dedicated to the scout.  Chief amongst them is THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF, a tale that encompasses two different continents.  In this book, I go into great detail about the scout and how he operated.   Other of my books that tell the story through a scout’s perspective are:  THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR

Wolf on the HillThere is a book on the market that you can buy, THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by author and scout, Tom Brown.  In this book, one is introduced to the way of the scout by Tom, who, as a boy, was taken under the wing of an old Apache scout and was taught the ways of the scout.  But let me mention a few of the abilities that these scouts possessed.  They could see miles in the distance, often stumping their white contemporaries.  They could sneak up on a person with such silence that one wouldn’t have even known a scout was there.  They were expert trackers and could tell not only each tribe by their prints (as all hunters and warriors could also), they could tell the state of health of the person who made the track.  They could tell the time of day the track was made and could even discern the thoughts of the person who made the track.  Was that person worried, happy, fearful?  They could even tell what organs of the body were not good or where they might fail– all from a track.

wolf in the woodsThey were so attuned to nature and the ebbs and flows of all around them that they could tell when something disturbed it, which means that they could detect a stranger into the environment.  Scouts loved water and mastered a technique of using water as a medium for scouting in what they lovingly called the water dance of the scout.

Scouts were trained hard and diligently by their elders and were trained to their profession as young boys, often given such chores as tracking ants — tracking animals over rocks, etc.  Scouts were honest to a fault — they had to be, because, as mentioned above, the entire safety and well-being of the tribe depended upon their observations and recommendations.

imagesCA9921J1The Way of the Scout:  honesty, integrity, not being afraid to state what you know or have seen, certainty of observation and a deep love of every member of his tribe.  These were all the traits of the old scout.  Some in military or government today like to think that they know The Way of the Scout.  Not so.  Not so at all.  The scout was noted for his compassion for all living creators — he did not kill his own kind, be they of his own tribe or a stranger wholly unknown to him.  And unless he had to eat, he didn’t kill other creatures either, nor did he press advantage for the skills and means that he had.  He used his skills to help his tribe, not to harm others without just cause.

Can  you imagine a governmheaderent made up of such men of integrity today?  In the current atmosphere of 180 degree reverse vectors, it seems almost impossible, even laughable.  And yet in the old days, it was so.  May we never forget.

Updated: August 8, 2016 — 10:10 pm

Welcome Guest – Erin Johnson

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I’ve always been interested in history and did a lot of research on the West while I was writing the Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes (Cengage, 2012). I also spent time in Arizona after my father moved to a ghost town near the Mexican border, and I was fascinated by the area around Tombstone, where much of the WANTED series is set.

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In the first book in the series, Grace and the Guiltless, Grace is the lone survivor after outlaws massacre her family. She risks her reputation by entering the notorious Bird Cage Theater to report the crime to the sheriff:

Clouds of smoke enveloped Grace. Like the black, acrid smoke from the burning cabin that still clung to her pores and clothes, the sweetish cigar smoke and the sharper scent of burning tobacco from hand-rolled cigarettes suffocated her. Raucous laughter, the tinkle of a piano, and the clink of glasses pulsed through the room. The infamous alcoves, or bird cages, some with their red velvet curtains drawn, perched overhead like rows of fancy packages.

Her eyes stinging from the haze, Grace squinted to find the sheriff. So many black frock coats blurred into an indistinguishable mass…

WantedGraceandtheGuiltless_smDisentangling herself from pawing hands as she crosses the room, Grace irritates the sheriff by separating him from the painted lady keeping him company.

The heavyset man frowned at her. “So, what can I do for you, Miss —”

“Grace Milton, sir. Yesterday my parents . . . my whole family . . .” Grace’s tongue tripped over the words. If she said them aloud, it would make it real. But if she didn’t, those killers would get away with what they had done. “Elijah Hale and his gang . . . they shot my pa, and-and…”

The sheriff’s face paled at the mention of Hale’s name, but he leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers, though his hands shook slightly. “Mr. Hale is well known in these parts as a respectable man.”

Respectable man? A picture imprinted itself on Grace’s mind – Hale smiling, his gun pointed straight at her father’s heart.

The sheriff pulled a cigar from his vest pocket and rolled it between his fingers, avoiding her eyes.

Her Cold Revenge 9781630790073 web“Did you hear me? Hale killed my pa. And my ma, and my—”

The sheriff chomped down on the cigar, twisted, and then spat the end into the nearby spittoon. The wad hit the brass with a wet ringing sound. “Any witnesses?”

“Me,” Grace choked out.

Sheriff Behan lit his cigar and blew a puff of smoke in Grace’s direction. “Not sure your word,” he said, his gaze raking her disheveled appearance, “would stand up against Hale’s.” He waved his cigar in a dismissive circle. “You bring me some proof, and I’ll consider looking into it.”

A white-hot volcano of rage erupted in Grace’s stomach. Did that badge glinting at her from across the table mean anything at all?

“My family’s dead in the ground.” She sucked in air to control the tremor in her voice. “I dug their graves myself.” She held out her blistered and bloodied hands. “Is that proof enough for you?”

Something flickered in the sheriff’s eyes. Pity maybe? But he quickly shuttered it. “That’s a sad story Miss Milton, but people die every day.” His voice loaded with fake sympathy, he continued, “Lots of Injuns ’round here. Renegade soldiers. Hermits. Even coyotes. Understandable you’d be a mite mixed up following such a tragedy. You being hysterical and all.”

Wanted_GraceBk2“I. Am. Not. Hysterical.” Grace spat out each word. Furious, yes. Hysterical, no. Although he was rapidly pushing her in that direction. She’d get no help from this snake.

As Grace suspects, the sheriff is in cahoots with the gang, so she trains as a bounty hunter to singlehandedly track down the criminals. One reviewer calls her the “Katniss of the Wild West.” But when Grace falls for Joe, a?rugged range rider, can she give up her independence to take on a partner?

In book 2, Her Cold Revenge, Grace must prove her skills and stop a train robbery masterminded by the outlaws who slaughtered her family. And as she slowly opens her heart to both Joe and the Ndeh tribe, who take her in, her heartache begins to heal. Yet she’s still torn between revenge and love.

“Every second had me on the edge of my seat…”

“I’ve never been so moved by a book. You honesty made me cry…”

The books in the WANTED series came out in the UK first, and then in the U.S., with different covers.

Scuppernong readingFeast on Fiction

 Erin Johnson grew up watching classic western movies with her father, which fueled her lifelong love of horseback riding. She’s always dreamed of being a fierce-talking cowgirl, but writing about one seemed like the next best thing. She loves traveling, painting, and teaching, and she writes under several pseudonyms for both children and adults.

Blog: https://lje1.wordpress.com/erin-johnson/

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/16791791-grace-and-the-guiltless

https://www.wattpad.com/story/38198225-her-cold-revenge

Buy links: G&G https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Guiltless-Wanted-Erin-Johnson/dp/163079001X/?tag=pettpist-20

HCR: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Revenge-Wanted-Erin-Johnson/dp/1630790079/?tag=pettpist-20

Giveaway! : Erin has a great giveaway with two separate winners!  For a chance to win, leave a comment for Erin and you’ll be entered.  One winner will receive a copy of Grace & the Guiltless and the second winner will receive a copy of the recipe book, Feast on Fiction!

Updated: August 2, 2016 — 11:57 am
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