Tag: westerns

10 Snags of Writing Colonials vs. Westerns by Guest Author Pam Hillman

 

Please welcome guest author Pam Hillman! It’s always a pleasure to have her here at Wildflower Junction! Today she has a great giveaway planned and, with a nod to our 10-year celebration, has had the daunting task of coming up with 10 differences she’s had to deal with as an author between westerns and colonials. 

Pam Hillman Author

Happy 10th Anniversary Petticoats and Pistols!

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this celebration.

I proposed a 1790s colonial series set in the Natchez Mississippi District and, to my delight, my publisher bought it. Sure, I knew there would be a bit of a change in my writing style from westerns to the 18th century. But it’s only about 80 years difference. How hard could it be? How much could change in 80 years? Well…

Anachronistic Words

 On the off-chance that I’m not the only one who had to look up the meaning of anachronistic, it means “something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time.”
Okay. Got it.
With a few exceptions of course, if I had been switching from writing colonials to westerns, my toolbox full of words would have carried over as they were already in use 70-80 years earlier. But since I was going backwards in time, I had a lot of favorite words that had to be cut because they weren’t in use in the 1790s. Words like smidgen (1845), howdy (1840), smokestack (1860), boilerplate (1860). The list goes on and on.

Patterns of Speech

A man of the colonial period had a different pattern of speech than the 1880s cowboy did. Their language was a bit more formal, more stilted, but it’s a little more subtle than that. It’s the cowboy lingo, the drawl, that sets the two periods apart. The words they used were important though, because that’s the only way we can really show that slow, sexy drawl of a cowboy. I’ll be honest, I missed that aspect of writing my cowboys.
Sigh.
But I still managed to make Connor O’Shea a swoon-worthy colonial-type cowboy, I think. 🙂
Pam Hillman

Good Day, Mistress Bartholomew

While Mister (Mr.), Missis/Missus (Mrs.), and Miss could be used in the 18th century, Mistress and Master are words we tend to associate for those in authority or as terms of respect during the colonial period. So, I used all of the above in my 1790s series, simply to provide variety. A little about ma’am, specifically. It’s associated closely with the cowboy vernacular as a term of respect to women, but it was in use by 1670. I used ma’am, but a lot less liberally than I would in a western, sprinkling in the more proper Mistress to help set the tone apart from a western.

Housekeeping and Tools

It’s the little things that jump out and bite you. Wood-burning cast iron stoves were invented in the mid-1500s, but it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that they were even remotely affordable for the general public. So I had to be careful not to use the word “stove” in my 1790s stories in that context. After writing several westerns where my heroines cook on a wood burning stove, pulled bread out of the oven, or the hero reached for the coffee pot in the cookhouse, that turned out to be quite a challenge. Unfortunately, I’m afraid one or two references might have slipped through.
Mostly pots and pans, tools, and things of that sort didn’t change much between the two periods. But when in doubt, I always check sources.
Pam Hillman Promise Kept

Let’s Eat

 Cobbler (1860) and sowbelly (1870) were two of a slew (1840 btw) of words I couldn’t have used in my 1790s series, but when I looked at a list of foods from 1790s, the only one that I would hesitate to use in the late 1800s was matelote (1730), which is a type of stew.

Let There be Light

I also had to be careful of the type lighting my characters used. In my westerns, the hero might just light the lantern, and readers immediately know what type of lantern I meant. While the word lantern goes back to 1300, during 18th century America, they mostly used candles with tin reflectors to reflect the light. Widespread use of kerosene lamps and lanterns came at a bit of a later time.

Catch Phrases

Probably the biggest hurdle for me was the catch phrases peppered throughout westerns. Phrases like “poker face” (1885, but my editor found evidence that the first poker game was played in 1829), “pipe dream” (1900), and the one that gave me the most sorrow to cut was “hook, line, and sinker” (1838).

Social Mores

The class structure of the haves and the have nots was still in place in the late 18th century in the Americas, but it was slipping. As hordes of immigrants, both bond and free, flooded into the colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, they held the promise of freedom close. The cowboy, the gold miner, the railroad worker, the pioneers all had freedom of choice that their ancestors only dreamed of.
So, there was a bit of a shift in the way I portrayed my characters to the way I’d show a foot-loose and fancy-free cowboy.

The Cowboy Swagger and His Clothes

There’s just something about describing a cowboy, the way he talks, the way he walks, his clothes, his boots. Maybe it’s just ingrained in me after reading and writing westerns my whole life. They say clothes don’t make the man, but a Stetson and a pair of cowboy boots goes a long way. But, still it is possible to give that swagger to a man who’s been plunked down in a different time period.
Pam Hillman 3

The Word Cowboy

For the record, the word cowboy was in use by 1725, a noun to refer to a cow herder or a“young cowhand”. I just can’t really see Mel Gibson or Captain Jack uttering the word cowboy in The Patriot or any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but stranger things than that have happened.
Now that I know the word was in existence, I’ll try to slip it in my next 1790s historical. 🙂
 
Pam Hillman The Promise

The Promise of Breeze Hill

 Natchez, MS; 1791
Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady. The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.
Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?
Pam Hillman
It’s time for prizes, yes? It may be Petticoats & Pistols’ birthday, but you get the gifts! I’m giving away a bag of books today. Signed copies of Claiming Mariah, Stealing Jake, and The Promise of Breeze Hill.
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In addition, my publisher is sponsoring a Mississippi Gift Basket Giveaway to celebrate the release of The Promise of Breeze Hill. Click the graphic to the right to enter that separate contest.
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Leave a comment to enter the book giveaway mentioned above.
 
Pam Hillman Author 2
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of.

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.

WESTERN READING BARGAINS FOR LESS THAN $1.00! by Cheryl Pierson

Cheryln100000149781632_8303In this day and age, we’re all looking for a bargain to make our dollars stretch just a little bit farther, aren’t we? It seems that’s especially true in reading, for me, because I don’t have time to go to the library…and I must confess, I’m a pretty slow reader. So, having that ultimatum hanging over me to return-a-book-within-a-certain-time-period-or-else just makes me nervous. It did when I was a kid, too.

So, speaking of bargains, I’m very thankful for e-readers and computers! Because now, you can get a whole lotta great reading served up electronically for a mere .99 and it’s YOURS! No returning it to the library, or hurrying to have to finish it…it’s there forever, added to your cyber library.

WF Anthology WebCoverThe first of the .99 books I want to talk about today is the Western Fictioneers publication THE TRADITIONAL WEST. What a wonderful collection of western stories to entertain, make you think, and plain ol’ enjoy. This anthology is special to me because it was the first WF publication my stories were included in. My contribution, The Kindness of Strangers, was one I truly enjoyed writing—because it has a wonderful twist in it. I brought in a little paranormal help, but I think it’s a story you’ll enjoy reading—and I’m sure proud to be included in this treasure trove of western short stories!

http://www.amazon.com/Traditional-West-Western-Fictioneers-ebook/dp/B005E1JI8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426215286&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Traditional+West

Wolf_Creek_COVER1Web_jpg_opt262x393o0,0s262x393Another great .99 bargain is the first book of the WOLF CREEK series, created by Troy Smith. What a wonderful, fun time we had putting that book together! Oh, it was a little harrowing at times, I’m sure, for Troy—but he pulled it off beautifully, and that was the book that launched the series.  Snap it up and get started on the Wolf Creek series for some great western reading if you haven’t already done so.  WOLF CREEK: BOOK 1 BLOODY TRAIL is one exciting lift-off to a great series!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Creek-Bloody-Clay-More-ebook/dp/B00916VX5A/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1426215430

For those of you who enjoy a little romance in your westerns, here’s a DOUBLE bargain! Prairie Rose Publications is offering two five-book collections of some of our great western novels—yes, that’s right—NOVELS—for only .99! That’s .99 PER COLLECTION—not per book.

PRPA COWBOY'S HEART boxed set

A COWBOY’S HEART includes novels by Tanya Hanson, Beverly Wells, Gil McDonald, Sara Barnard, and Cheryl Pierson.

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Heart-Western-Romance-Novels-ebook/dp/B00QEE7JPA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426219253&sr=8-1&keywords=a+cowboy%27s+heart

 

A COWBOY’S BRAND includes novels by Kristy McCaffrey, Gail L. Jenner, Sarah J. McNeal, Meg Mims and Livia J. Washburn

PRPA Cowboy's Brand

There are lots and lots of “single-sell” short stories out there to snap up, too, containing some darn fine western entertainment! So come on—jump on over to Amazon or B&N and just see want you can find for less than a dollar! These are some of the best bargains out there!

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Brand-Western-Romance-Novels-ebook/dp/B00QE9YJYE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426218992&sr=8-1&keywords=a+cowboy%27s+brand

Also, stop by the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS website to see what we’ve got to offer in the way of fantastic reads! You’ll find plenty more of these bargain reads here and at other places on the internet!
www.prairierosepublications.com 

PETER BRANDVOLD IS WITH US TODAY!

Hi everyone!

Cheryl Pierson here! I want to introduce you to a very special guest, a good friend of mine who writes some fantastic western adventures, Peter Brandvold! Pete has been gracious enough to take time from his busy schedule to answer a few interview questions for us and will be poking his head in every once in a while today to read and answer comments and questions. He’s got a couple of new releases to tell us about today as well as some insight as to how he got started writing and a few of his pet peeves.

 

How did you start your writing career?

I hated teaching so much so it was either writing or suicide the way Yukio Mishima did it–seppuku.

Tell us about your current release.

I have two current releases–a paranormal or “weird” western, DUST OF THE DAMNED, and a traditional western under my pen name Frank Leslie–THE LAST RIDE OF JED STRANGE.  DUST is a werewolf western in which two ghoul-hunting bounty hunters, Uriah Zane and Angel Coffin, go after the Hell’s Angels–a pack of werewolves brought into the U.S. by Abe Lincoln to win the Civil War at Gettysburg.  The Angels were supposed to go home when the job was done, but it seems you can’t trust a werewolf farther than you could throw your fattest aunt uphill against a cyclone.  They came west and caused all kinds of trouble.  A beautiful Mexican witch and necromancer is leading them across the Arizona desert in search of the werewolf-equivalent of the holy grail.  (Jesse James makes an appearance as a ghoul-hunter, as well, because in my messed-up West there’s more money in hunting down vampires, aka, “swillers,” and hobgobbies and werewolves than there is in train robbing!) 

JED STRANGE is about one of my series characters, young Colter Farrow, who wears the ‘S’ mark of Sapinero on his cheek–branded there by the vile Bill Rondo.  In this one, he’s on the run in Mexico with a young girl, Bethel Strange, who’s looking for her outlaw father who was last seen running guns in the Sonora Desert.

Who is your favorite author?

I have tons of favorite authors, and the list moves around a lot.  I like Leigh Brackett and C.L. Moore a lot–sci-fi writers from the pulp days.  And I also like the fantasy novels of Jack Vance.  For western writers I like Gordon D. Shirreffs, Richard Jessup, Luke Short, Lewis B. Patten, and H.A. DeRosso.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

The students I hated teaching.

Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?

My dogs have always been here for me.  (Actually, my ex-wife taught me a lot by her incredibly gifted editing, but if you tell her I said that I’ll deny it and call you a raving lunatic!)

What was your first sale as an author?

ONCE A MARSHAL back in ’98.  It was about the aging lawman Ben Stillman, whose career was cut short when a drunk whore shot him in the back by accident.  Sigh.  But Ben got himself dusted off and went back to work to solve the murder of his old hide-hunting pard, Milk River Bill Harmon.  I really like that book.  I wish someone would reprint it.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Editing.  I really hate editing.  I like to just keep moving forward.  Going back to polish is like when you’re a little kid out playing cavalry and you got dead Injuns all around and only a few more to go and your mom calls you in for supper.

What are your pet peeves as a writer? As a reader?

As a writer, it’s editing.  As a reader, it’s dull writing.  Writers today seem more preoccupied with telling back stories than front stories–i.e, keeping things rolling.  I mean, they’ll start a book off with, “Jessica gripped the gun in her fist and walked into the saloon.  She’d just ridden into Dodge City that morning and found her father hanging from a gallows.  That really miffed her, so the first thing she did was…”  Know what I mean?   The art of bringing all that stuff in through action and dialogue is an art and most writers today do it about as well as I can dance.  Omniscient narrators should be killed en masse all over the writing world.  There, I said it, and I don’t care if I hang for it!

Who are your books published with? 

Berkley and Signet.  At one time, Forge.  They’ve been good to me. 

You can order Pete’s books from his awesome website:  www.peterbrandvold.com

His blog can be found here:  http://peterbrandvold.blogspot.com

Here’s a link to a fantastic review for DUST OF THE DAMNED:
http://www.themaineedge.com/content/21164/Ride_out_with_Dust_of_the_Damned/

Pete, thank you so much for being our guest today and giving us these personal glimpses into your career and how you got started writing.  You’ve written so many wonderful action packed westerns, my new kindle is going to be loaded down. These latest two additions to your credits look absolutely wonderful. Again, thanks for being our guest today, and we hope you’ll come back again in the future!

Cheryl

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