Tag: Marin Thomas

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die

Tombstone is a step back in time!

Two years ago my husband and I traveled to Tombstone, Arizona. I’d been to the town once before but for some reason we never walked through the Bird Cage Saloon. Visiting the infamous building was on the top of my list this last time. I hope you enjoy my photos from this trip!

 Tombstone is located in southeastern Arizona and was the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Boothill Graveyard.

   

The town suffered two devastating fires: one in 1881 and again in 1882, but the Bird Cage Saloon survived both.The saloon was located in the heart of the red-light district on the corner of Allen Street and 6th Street. The photo below shows what the Bird Cage looked like before the outside was renovated. 

The building remained boarded up for the next fifty years before it reopened as a tourist attraction. The outside of the structure was remodeled to protect it from the elements. Inside the Bird Cage you will find the original wood floors that Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and the Clanton family all walked across. Even the mirrors behind the bar are original. The only part of the inside that has been renovated is the staircase leading to the basement.

 

  The Bird Cage served many purposes as listed on this sign.

The saloon was considered a “house of negotiable affection” and for $25 a gentleman could buy a bottle of whiskey and time with a lady in one of the 13 “cages” or cribs suspended above the gambling parlor. 

Twenty-fours hours a day the vaudeville circuit played on the stage.

 

 

 

The piano in the picture has sat in that same spot since 1881. The piano was the first to arrive in Tombstone and was part of a five-piece band that played in the saloon from 1881-1889.

The saloon also had a barber if any cowboy wanted to “spiff up” before visiting the ladies in the upstairs cribs. 

 

Curly Bill

Outlaw Curly Bill was recognized getting a haircut in this chair and was later tracked down and killed by Wyatt Earp. The table is the original table in the gaming parlor where Doc Holliday was often seen playing and dealing Fargo.

       

 

The Longest Poker Game Ever Played

The basement of the saloon is where the serious gambling took place and was the location of the longest poker game ever played in history. The game lasted eight years, five months and three days. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. There was a $1,000 buy-in and a continuous list of gamblers waiting to get into the game. The saloon employed runners to go out on the street and find the next player on the list when someone folded or left the game which averaged every 3 to 4 days. 

Below are pictures of the basement gaming area. I was surprised at how small it was. In the photos you’ll see the original service bar that served drinks to the gamblers as well as the men visiting the two bordello rooms in the basement. The mirrors behind the bar have hung in the same place since 1881. The whiskey keg and heating stove are originals and have been in the same place since the Birdcage closed its doors. The gaming tables, chairs, dealers box and money boxes all sit where they were during the “longest game.”

  

 

The Infamous Sadie Jo

One of Tombstones most famous soiled doves, Sarah Josephine Marcus, who went by the name of Sadie Jo & Shady Sadie worked at the Bird Cage in the basement. Below is the room where she and Wyatt Earp had their romantic liaisons while she was engaged to the then sheriff of Tombstone, John Harris Behan. At the time Wyatt lived in a covered wagon fifty feet away from the Bird Cage with his common law wife Mattie. Wyatt left Mattie for Josephine and Mattie was forced into prostitution in Prescott, AZ. and later committed suicide by overdosing on laudanum.

Haunted Bird Cage 

You know me and my fascination with ghosts…well, it is said that 27 ghosts inhabit the Bird Cage Saloon—the same number of people believed to have been killed in the building.

Employees say they often smell perfume and cigar smoke when working as well as seeing apparitions. Ghost tours are given at night, and one day I’d love to return to Tombstone and take the tour.

Before I sign off, I have to share one more photo of this little cowboy I came across on my trip to Tombstone.

Giveaway

To be entered into a giveaway for a Kindle copy of all three books in my series share this blog post and put the link where you shared it in the comment section! I’ll post the winner’s name on Saturday Oct 14th in the comment section of this blog post.

Until Next Time….Happy Trails!

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Fall: Memories of Mother and Baking

FALL.... brings back fond memories of my mother and baking. Each year as the season transitioned from summer to fall, so did the smells in my childhood home.

When the days began to grow cooler and the nights colder, my mother started stockpiling baking ingredients. Several times a week the scents of cinnamon, apples and chocolate greeted me when I came home from school. Mom would always invite me to help her make cookies or bake a cake, but I was only interested in licking the beaters and stealing a spoonful of batter before heading outside to play with my friends.

My mother taught herself how to cook and bake. While us kids watched TV at night, she’d browse magazines for recipes and add them to her collection. After my mother passed away, my sister sent me a few of her recipe books. I appreciated the gesture, until I took a closer look and saw that the recipes were all main courses and appetizers. She’d kept the pastry and dessert books for herself. Sneaky sister.

Pioneer Woman to the rescue! A while ago I bookmarked Ree Drummond’s cooking blog on my laptop. I told myself if a Pi Beta Phi sorority girl and graduate of the University of Southern California could teach herself how to cook for the Marlboro man, then I could teach myself to cook for the golfer man.

Ree’s rum cake recipe is one of my favorites. After two trial runs at making this cake, I was confident enough to purchase a fancy Bundt pan and Ree’s vintage-looking cake platter. Each year I stock up on bottles of rum and make several cakes to give away at Christmastime. You can find Ree’s rum cake recipe HERE.

I’ll never be as good in the kitchen as my mother, and I’ll never keep my recipes as organized as she did. But when I do come across a recipe in a magazine or on the Internet that I’d like to try, I print it off and toss it into my vintage recipe tin, which sits on my vintage stool in the corner of my not-so-vintage kitchen. 

 

Giveaway Alert!

Answer the following question for a chance to win a signed paperback or digital copy (winner’s choice) of TWINS FOR THE TEXAS RANCHER. (I’ll announce the winners name in the comment section of this post on Sunday October 1st!)

Of all the treats your mother baked when you were growing up, which was your favorite?

 

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

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The Wickedest Town in the West; Jerome, Arizona

 

Dear Readers… Jerome, Arizona earned its reputation as the wickedest town in the west after three catastrophic fires within an eighteen-month period. The pious people of the sinful town attributed the fires to Devine retribution and pushed to incorporate Jerome. Once building codes were passed, a fire department was established and laws were put on the books to rein in Jerome’s wild ways.

Who wouldn’t want to visit the wickedest town in the west after a description like that?

This past summer hubby and I drove Route 89A to Jerome, which lies between the towns of Prescott and Flagstaff. The trip through the Prescott National Forest was breathtaking and well worth the slow climb in elevation to 5,000 feet above sea level.

Jerome was founded in 1876, its population peaking at 15,000 in the 1920’s. I’ve been to this ghost town three times in my life. Once when I was fifteen on a family vacation out west and twice since hubby and I moved back to Arizona. Jerome, a former copper-mining town, sits on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley. Today it’s a tourist stop and a favorite haunt of ghost hunters. All of the various hotels and B&B’s are reportedly haunted.

   

 

Famous Bartlett Hotel

 

The remains of the famous Bartlett Hotel on Main Street brings in as much as $6,500 a year for the Jerome Historical Society. Tourists stop to toss their coins between the bars hoping to hit the old outhouse and pieces of rusted mining artifacts below. My days playing basketball in college did not help me hit the toilet.

 

          

 

The Connor Hotel

I entered the lobby of the Connor Hotel to look around and the desk attendant was happy to tell me about the place, saying several guests had seen the Lady in Red while others reported being touched, feeling a draft of cold air sweep over them, lights and TV’s flickering on and off—the “usual ghostly things” she said.  Behind the motel are the remains of the 1918 haunted Liberty Theater, which played silent movies in the 1920’s. It’s the light tan building next to the red hotel in the picture below.

   

If you’re a paranormal enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the youtube video of photographs taken in the Connor Hotel that show ghostly orbs.

 

Years ago a department store sat across the street from the Connor Hotel, but now its an  empty lot with only department store safe remaining.

 

Sliding Jail

The Jerome Historical Society is working on restoring the famous sliding jail, which slipped 200 feet downhill from where it originally stood. The ground shifted in the area after Phelps Dodge purchased the copper claims during WWII and began dynamiting the mountains. The mine, still owned by Phelps Dodge, closed in 1953.

 

Just for fun!

I get excited when I find something taller than me like this old gas pump.

Books

I don’t write historical romances but if I did, I’d definitely use Jerome, Arizona, as the backdrop for a story. And speaking of books… I have two releases out this month…so here’s my shameless plug!

Twins for the Texas Rancher (Cowboys of Stampede, Texas)

DOUBLE TROUBLE! 

Sadie McHenry and her twin sons are heading home to Stampede, Texas. Sadie wants a chance to start over after being laid off—and she might have found it with rancher Logan Hardell. Logan instantly bonds with her boys, especially with Tommy, whose ADD makes him a handful. But Logan seems to understand the four-year-old’s needs and seeing them together melts Sadie’s heart.

Logan’s ranch is at risk, so Sadie agrees to help with their books—putting Logan on twin patrol! With his fun-loving approach to the kids and his rugged appeal, Sadie can’t understand why he’s ruled out a family of his own. But she’s not giving up on him just yet. Because Sadie’s convinced Logan is exactly what she and her boys need!

  The Future She Left Behind

One woman’s journey home gets derailed by her soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law in a novel filled with humor, small-town charm, rekindled love, and the resilient ties of family.

Cast aside by her cheating husband, Katelyn Chandler is ready to pack it all in and drive home to Little Springs, Texas. She wants a chance to regroup, reconnect with her mother, and get back to her art.

But Shirley Pratt—master manipulator, elitist snob, and Katelyn’s terror of a live-in monster-in-law—has other ideas. Shirley insists on joining Katelyn’s trip after her son tries to pack her off to a retirement community. Katelyn has no choice but to play peacekeeper between the ornery old woman and the proud matrons of Little Springs. Yet the small town seems to be changing Shirley. And as Katelyn weighs the wisdom of picking up where she left off with Jackson Mendoza, the town bad boy and her high school sweetheart, she must find a way to believe in the strength of her dreams.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Tell me about a strange place you once visited for a chance to win a signed paperback or digital copy (reader’s choice) of the first book in my Cowboys of Stampede series, The Cowboy’s Accidental Baby. I’ll announce the winner in the comment section of this post sometime on Saturday Sep 9th. 

Until next time…Happy Trails!

 

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Touring the American Old West

Dear readers

I invite you to come along as I share my travels through the American old west. I’m thrilled to be one of the new fillies here at Petticoats & Pistols and I can’t wait to share my love of the Old West with you.

About me: Along with writing contemporary western romances I also write contemporary romantic women’s fiction.  You’ll find that all of my books are set in small towns and usually include a few quirky characters. My stories incorporate the themes of home, family and redemption. This September I will publish my 40th project for Harlequin Books and my current series is called, Cowboys of Stampede, Texas. I also write small-town romances for Tule Publishing’s Montana Born line and Sweet Home Cowboy is my latest release.

 

 

 

 

 

And I’m a member of the Tall Poppy Writers. You  can find out more about my small-town romantic women’s fiction novels as well as my western books on my Website.

 

If you follow me on social media then you know I love junk. My friends call me vintage Marin because I love flea markets so much. If you haven’t heard of Junk in the Trunk you should check it out!

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been comfortable around old stuff. I find ideas for my stories and characters when I browse through people’s castoffs. My love of antiques goes right along with my love of history and the old west. One of my hobbies is researching ghost tours and haunted old west towns. Sadly I’ve never experienced an encounter with a ghost but I love taking tours that share the history of the haunted locations.  Hubby and I currently live in Phoenix and we’re recent empty nesters so we’re using our newfound freedom to travel the beautiful Grande Canyon State.

This past July my husband and I ventured out on Route 66 in northern Arizona. You can find all of my travel photos on my Instagram page.

 

Winslow, Arizona

Route 66 Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona has been on my bucket list for years.

For those of you who are confused this video Take it Easy by the Eagles band will explain it and reveal my age, lol!

Drift Inn Saloon

After Winslow we got off Route 66 and stopped at the copper mining town of Globe, Arizona and had lunch at the haunted Drift Inn Saloon—one of oldest continuously operating saloons in the state, opening its doors in 1902. The Drift Inn Saloon has been named one of the top five biker-destination bars in the state by the Arizona Republic newspaper and one of the “Magnificent 7” saloons by Arizona Highways Magazine. The second floor was originally opened as a boarding house for miners then turned into a brothel a few years later.

  

The bar is a living icon of the Old West, with its original tin ceiling. A Frank Olsen mural of Monument Valley is painted along one wall and hanging above the image are vintage portraits of soiled doves, which pay homage to the ladies who once worked in the brothel above the bar.

When I learned the bartender Eileen, was one of the owners of the bar, I bombarded her with questions about the history of the building. She and her partner had lived on the second floor for several years while they renovated the bar. She claimed the building was haunted and then asked if I’d like to go upstairs and look around. Of course I said YES!

Eileen told stories about the building that the local old-timers had shared with her after she bought the place. Several mediums have walked through the building and confirmed that spirits inhabit the premises. One of the rooms is said to be full of trapped souls unable to escape. And room 18 is said to be a very dark, evil room. A young woman stands in the shower and watches people in the bathroom. And of course there’s the nasty spirit of a man who wanders the upstairs. The medium couldn’t tell the owners for sure who he was but they believe he may be either Joseph Ludwig, a local miner who was murdered in one of the upstairs rooms in 1906 or the man who murdered him.

 

As a writer we romanticize cowboys and the old west in our stories… because who wants to read about smelly, bowlegged men who bathe once a month and are missing half their teeth? But that afternoon in Globe as I walked past the twenty-five rooms on the second floor of the Drift Inn Saloon, I had to acknowledge that life in the old west could be cruel, harsh and deadly.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experience at the Drift Inn Saloon. I can’t wait to share with you the other Route66 places and towns in Arizona. And since this is my first blog as an official P&P filly, let’s do a giveaway!

 *Giveaway*

 

Tell me if you’ve ever had a paranormal experience or taken a ghost tour and your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a digital copy of my sweet western novella, The Bull Rider’s Pledge. I’ll reveal the winner’s name in the comment section of this blog post on Saturday August 12th.

Until next time…Happy Trails!

 

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P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway). You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE.

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The Bunkhouse

MarinThomasAuthorPhoto2014jpgHello, Marin Thomas here.  I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger again at Petticoats and Pistols!  Before I start gabbing about the history of the bunkhouse, I want to let readers know that I’m offering a giveaway.  If you leave a comment on this blog, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle copy or a signed paperback of A Cowboy Of Her Own.  If you’ve already read the book, no worries—I’ll send you a Kindle or paperback of A Rodeo Man’s Promise—this book introduces you to the characters in my upcoming series for Harlequin American Romance…Cowboys of the Rio Grande.  

The Bunkhouse

The Bunkhouse, often referred to as the Dive, the Shack, the Doghouse, the Dump, the Dicehouse or Ram Pasture, is a symbol of the Old West and has been glamorized in romance novels for decades.  But the truth about this western icon is that bunkhouses were not very pleasant to live in.

bunkhouse3

Cowboy pay on most ranches ranged from from the 1870s to the turn of the century.  The quality of a ranch’s bunkhouse and chuck wagon grub often determined how long a cowboy remained on a particular spread.  Cowboys did all the dirty, dangerous work that made millionaires of cattle kings.  They worked at a time when there were no unions, worker’s comp, safety regulations, pension plans, or health insurance.  There was no mandatory retirement age so many cowboys worked until they died.

bunkhouse2

When cowboys weren’t riding the trail, the bunkhouse became their home.  The size depended on the wealth of the rancher.  Most were small with several beds or cots crammed inside.  A woodstove provided heat and if space allowed there would be a table and chairs, where the hands could play cards. After supper the cowboys might swap tales, play dice or practical jokes on one another.

bunkhouse1

An outhouse was usually nearby but not the most pleasant of places to visit. The bunkhouse was cold in the winter and stiflingly hot in the summer and there was no shortage of vermin who took up residence inside with the cowboys.  Since most cowboys didn’t bathe during the winter months they got used to lice in their beds and on their heads—not to mention the foul odor of unwashed bodies.

This month the final book in my Cash Brothers series released (A Cowboy of Her Own) and throughout all six books I’ve included a scene that takes place in the “bunkhouse” on the Cash family pecan farm.

This modern day bunkhouse was constructed when the Cash brothers’ sister, Dixie Cash (A Cowboy’s Duty) married and claimed the farmhouse for her and her husband.  All six of her bachelor brothers moved into the bunkhouse, which was a large aluminum Tuff shed with indoor plumbing.

bunkhousecashbrothers

Willie Nelson Cash (Her Secret Cowboy) works in construction and spearheaded the project.  The brothers decorated the bunkhouse with a huge plasma TV, which Conway Twitty’s twins broke (Twins Under The Christmas Tree).  The brothers hung rodeo posters above the beds that lined the walls and ate their meals at a picnic table, which became the scene of a family Thanksgiving dinner in (The Cowboy Next Door).  One by one, the Cash Brothers married off, leaving fewer and fewer brothers, living in the bunkhouse until only Porter Wagoner remained (A Cowboy Of Her Own).

ACowboyofHerOwnMedHow many of you have seen the inside a real bunkhouse before? Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Cowboy of Her Own or A Rodeo Man’s promise!

http://youtu.be/YHqy9js3zjw (Youtube link to A Cowboy Of Her Own book trailer)

 

Marin Thomas Bio

I write women’s fiction novels for Penguin/NAL Trade and series romance for Harlequin American Romance.  And I can’t explain any better than this why I love writing western romances…  “The image of the West and the romance of the West are not going to die. Because it’s the very heart of America. Not only the image of a person on horseback working cattle. But the set of values that it represents. Things like individualism, independence, and freedom. And honesty, integrity. The work ethic. Dedication to your family, and conviction about your belief in God. And practicing common decency and respect for your fellow man every day you live.” ~Red Steagall

My husband and I are recent empty-nesters and live in Texas, where cowboys, pickups and country music provide plenty of inspiration for my western books.  Be on the lookout in 2015 for my newest Harlequin series, Cowboys of the Rio Grande.  The first book in the series, A Cowboy’s Redemption, releases in June.  If you’d like to keep up to date on both my women’s fiction novels and my Harlequin romances please sign up for my Newsletter.

Website   Facebook   Twitter  Pinterest  The Cash Brothers

 

Marin Thomas Shares Her Cash Brothers

CashBrothers_BusinessCard_#2(The Fillies welcome Contemporary Western Romance Author, Marin Thomas. Linda Broday met her two months ago and invited her to guest blog. We’re mighty glad Marin said yes.)

For those of you who don’t know me well, I have a whacky sense of humor. It came as no surprise to hubby when I told him about the idea I came up with for my next Harlequin American Romance proposal. My odd sense of humor and love for country music resulted in The Cash Brothers series (six brothers all named after country and western legends by their eccentric mother whose lifelong search for her soul mate left each of her sons with a different father.)

Brenda_2012_Harlequin_BlogJohnny Cash (The Cowboy Next Door)
Conway Twitty Cash (Twins Under the Christmas Tree)
Willie Nelson Cash (Her Secret Cowboy)
Buck Owens Cash (The Cowboy’s Destiny)
Merle Haggard Cash (True Blue Cowboy)
Porter Wagoner Cash (A Cowboy of her Own)

Anyone who writes about cowboys and ranchers usually has a fondness for country music and I’m no exception. My parents never listened to country music when I was young but the mother of one of my childhood friends did. During the summer while my friend’s mother was at work, we’d play her collection of country-music albums and hold our own karaoke contest in the living room. Little did I know then that I’d become a Harlequin author and name the heroes in my books after country and western legends. I’m thrilled that my readers have embraced The Cash Brothers and that the books are bringing back memories of days gone by when they or their parents listened to the songs by these country greats.

I’m often asked if I gave the characters any real-life traits from their namesakes and the answers is yes and no. If you do any research on these music legends you’ll discover that they all had their ups and downs through life and made their fair share of mistakes. In True Blue Cowboy I made a reference that Mack Cash had been bailed out of jail by his brothers a few times for fighting in bars. The real Merle Haggard Cash spent time in San Quentin but was later pardoned by Ronald Regan.

Last year when the series debuted with The Cowboy Next Door, I created a music poll for my readers and asked them to name their favorite Johnny Cash song. The honor went to Ring of Fire, which I made mention of in the actual book.

 

Marin is giving away to one lucky winner (Reader’s choice) a Kindle copy or signed paperback of the first two books in The Cash Brothers series, The Cowboy Next Door (July 2013) and Twins Under The Christmas Tree (October 2013). Do you have a favorite country and western song? Leave a comment on this blog to enter the giveaway!

true_blue_cowboy_med

You can find a list of The Cash Brothers books with links to “BUY” at marinthomas.com
Here’s where you’ll find Marin hanging out…

Happy Ever After…The Cowboy Way
The Cash Brothers FB page
Marin Thomas Author FB page
Twitter
Goodreads
Marin’s Blog
Pinterest
Marin’s Cowgirl Gossip
Newsletter

Brenda_2012_Harlequin_BlogBIO
Marin was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historic Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. She and her husband have become recent empty-nesters and this past July moved back to Texas for the third time, where cowboys, pickups and country music provide plenty of inspiration for her western books.

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015