Filly Excerpts Three & Four

EXCERPT THREE

Clara pushed Foxfire to a lope, feeling the joyful stretch of the colt’s body between her knees. There was an old barbed wire fence between the ranch land and her grandmother’s property. But the wires were down in several places where the cattle had butted against the posts. It would be easy to jump the horse through.

They came up fast on the fence, with Clara leaning forward in the saddle. She was urging her mount to a jump when she caught sight of the gleaming new barbed wire at the level of the colt’s chest.

Some fool had fixed the fence!

With an unladylike curse, she wrenched the reins to one side. The pressure on his bit-tender mouth sent Foxfire into a frenzy. He reared and stumbled sideways. Thrown from the saddle Clara slammed to the ground. For a terrifying instant the colt teetered above her, hoofs flailing. Then he regained his balance, wheeled and galloped away.cowboy-hat-and-barbed-wire

Clara lay gasping on her back. Cautiously she moved her arms and legs. Nothing felt broken, but the hard landing had knocked the wind out of her. She took a moment to gather her wits. First she needed to catch her breath. Then she would need to get up and catch her horse. After that she intended to hunt down the addle-pated so-and-so who’d replace the sagging wire and give him a piece of her mind.

“Are you all right?” The voice that spoke was distinctly male, with a gravelly undertone. The face that loomed into sight above her was square-boned with a long, stubbled jaw. Tawny curls, plastered with sweat and dust, tumbled over blazing blue eyes.

It flashed through her mind that her virtue could be in serious danger. But the man leaning over her didn’t look lustful. He looked concerned—and furious.

Clara struggled to speak but the fall had left her breathless. It was all she could do to return his scowl.

“What in hell’s name did you think you were doing?” he growled. “You damn near ran that horse into the wire. You could’ve cut its chest to pieces and broken your own fool neck in the bargain.”

Summoning her strength Clara rose up on her elbows and found her voice. “What right do you have to question me?” she retorted. “Who are you and what are you doing on Seavers land?”

His gaze flickered over the straining buttons of her plaid shirt, then averted to his own muddy boots. The boots, Clara noticed, were expensively made. Most likely the rough-looking fellow had stolen them.

“Begging your pardon.” His voice was razor-edged. “Until you fell off your horse, I was on the other side of the fence—Mrs. Gustavson’s fence, if I’m to believe her, and I do. She’s hired me to make some repairs.”

Clara scrambled to her feet. One hand brushed the damp earth off the seat of her denim jeans. “Mary Gustavson is my grandmother, and this fence has been down for as long as I can remember. Whose addle-brained idea was it to put the wire up?”

EXCERPT FOUR

Josephine Wylie marched back inside the livery, still madder than a dunked cat. If those two mangy curs had done anything to hurt Danny–

Her eyes lit on the fancily-dressed stranger, and she suddenly had a target for her anger.

He smiled and stepped forward. “I believe introductions are in order. I’m Ryland Lassiter.”

She ignored the hand. “You’re also a flea-brained fool. What in Sam Hill did you think you were doing?”

He stiffened, slowly lowering his hand. “I was coming to the aid of that stalwart young man at your side.”

Hah! Did he think he was going to win her over with his highfalutin talk and that toe-tingly deep voice of his? She planted her fists on her hip. “By going up against two gun-toting varmints with nothing but a pitchfork?”

“Now see here–”

She didn’t give him a chance to finish. “Mister, you might be the biggest toad in the pond where you come from, but that don’t mean beans around here.  If you want to risk your own hide, that’s your business, but your blamed fool actions put Danny in danger too. That’s either pebble-brained stupidity or grizzly-sized disregard for others, neither of which I can stomach.”

“Nor can I.” The man’s words were controlled but she didn’t miss the flash of temper in his storm-gray eyes. “I also can’t abide bullies. When I arrived, Danny was already trying to face them down. I only–”

“What!” Jo’s heartbeat kicked up a notch as she swung around. “Daniel Edward Atkins, I’ve told you before, nothing’s worth getting shot over. If someone gives you this kind of trouble, let it go and we’ll get Sheriff Hammond to handle it afterwards.”

The boy kicked at a clod of dirt. “I’m big enough to hold my own.”

She placed a hand on his shoulder. “Danny, I got to know you’re going to mind what I tell you when I leave you in charge.”

He gave a reluctant nod, then glanced past her, reminding Jo they weren’t alone.

And that she had some crow to eat.

Filly Excerpts One & Two

EXCERPT ONE

All morning she managed to avoid the haunting allure of a room shrouded by heavy draperies. Streaks of light cut through the darkness, brightening silky pink wallpaper and piercing her memories, awakening images of another time—another life.

Instead of taking the stairs, Maggie stepped into the play of light and shadows of a parlor where dust lay thick on every surface. Fine-boned furnishings maintained a delicate beauty beneath the musty odor and a floating shimmer of intricate webs. A piano, alone in a corner, held her transfixed. Ghostly whispers of familiar piano-lessons1melodies echoed in the back of her mind.

She hadn’t seen a piano since she’d sat at her own. Her father’s actually.

Play something sweet for me, Maggie.

His image drew her closer, his long frame relaxed in the pink tufted chair, his eyes closed, his silver hair a soft wave against his forehead. Her fingers reached toward ivory keys as she settled on the cool rosewood bench. Her father’s favorite song trickled through her mind as her fingertips brushed the smooth surface, her light touch barely disturbing a silty film. Her hands moved silently over the keys, following the music playing in mind.

Well done, Button. Your mother could not have played any sweeter. It will be a lucky suitor who wins your delicate hand.

Her gaze fell to the scarred and calloused fingers poised over the keys. Sadness rushed her heart at the thought of her father’s disappointment. He’d loved her and had envisioned nothing but refined comfort for her future. He hadn’t meant to leave her unprepared for the harsh realities of her life.

A prickling chill crept up the back of her neck. The internal warning she’d been too naive to recognize at the age of thirteen pulled her from her thoughts. She glanced over her shoulder and spied a tall figure looming. She gasped, lunging up. As she turned her hip banged against the piano. A clash of heavy vibrations exploded across the room.

“Maggie?” His rich voice eased her fright.

“Garret.”

His face moved into a spray of light, casting off the dark pallor of old memories. The purple smudges beneath his hazel eyes and the puffy gash above his eyebrow reminded her that she’d been heading upstairs. Her gaze collided with his bare chest and followed the dusting of crisp blond hair to denims riding low on his hips, the top button unfastened. His bare feet were the only part of his exposed body not baring bruises.

“What are you doing out of bed?”

“Lookin’ for my magpie.”

EXCERPT TWO

Mercerville, Pennsylvania, 1863

Lorena Rose peered through the slit between the faded damask drapes that covered the window in the upstairs hall of The Hedward Girls Academy. The last remaining young woman was being escorted into a carriage by her father. Well, not the last.

She glanced over her shoulder at the eight-year-old who sat alone in the roomy alcove used for reading and studying. Emily Sadler had stacked a pile of books on the worn divan beside her, and now focused intently on the one she held. The shelves behind her were empty.

The space that had once been filled with students and chairs and books was glaringly bare. Everything had been sold to pay debts.

Lorena’s stomach quaked as it had every time she’d thought of the financial crisis that had closed this school where she’d grown up, scattering the only people she knew.

This was home.

On the street below, Mrs. Hugh stood watching the carriage pull away. She held herself stiffly, her posture as perfect as that of the students she’d taught for the past thirty years. The woman turned, instinctively glancing up at the window where Lorena stood. She then gathered the hem of her brown serge skirts and hurried toward the door below, disappearing from view.

Lorena turned away from the window. “I’m going to see about our supper.”
Emily acknowledged her with a polite nod.

Downstairs, Lorena met Mrs. Hugh in the hallway that led back to her office and the kitchen beyond. “I see Jeanette has taken her leave,” Lorena said.

“Yes.” The lines radiating from the corner of the woman’s eyes had deepened over the past months. “Only Emily remains, and we still haven’t heard from her mother. My son is coming for me tomorrow.”

She raised her gaze to Lorena’s finally, steeling her expression.

“If I may have her mother’s address, I will continue to try to reach her,” Lorena offered. She and Emily were the last two castoffs.

Mrs. Hugh picked the only thing on the desk, and handed the folder to Lorena.

Lorena glanced at the headmistress hesitantly before opening it. She’d never seen one of the student’s files. There, in neat script were dates and numbers, detailing a history of the child’s time at the school. Emily had come here on April fifth of the year eighteen hundred and fifty five. Her approximate length and weight were recorded, as were eye and hair color. She’d been an infant.

Her mother was listed as Meriel Sadler, but the line for a father had been left blank. Payments had been recorded every six month interval for the past eight years. Mrs. Hugh had noted each bank draft signed by Mr. Roman Terlesky, even recording postmarks from various parts of the country and overseas.

Puzzled, Lorena looked up. “Is Mr. Terlesky her father?”

“I don’t believe so. He may be her stepfather or merely her mother’s…close friend. In any case he supplied her tuition all these years.”

“Has either of them visited her?”

“Her mother visited once or twice when she was very small,” the woman answered. “I doubt the child remembers her.”

Their abandonment stirred Lorena’s anger. Emily’s situation was painfully similar to her own. Lorena’s anonymous tuition had stopped coming when she’d been twelve, and she’d been forced to work in the kitchen and help with the laundry to pay her keep. All these years and she’d never known where she’d come from or who had abandoned her. “May I see my own file?”

Without hesitation, Mrs. Hugh turned to a crate and flipped through the meager stack of remaining papers. “You may have it. And the girl’s. I have no further need for them.”

Lorena opened this folder with more trepidation than she had the last. Her heart skipped a few beats and then raced.

In black ink, the same penmanship recorded the date she’d come to the school. She’d been two years old.

Nothing appeared on the lines that called for a mother and father’s name nor was there a date of birth. She stared at the blank spaces, her eyes dry and burning. “There’s nothing here.”

“We weren’t given contacts.” Mrs. Hughes moved a page to find her handwritten record on a piece of heavy stationary. “You were brought to the front door by a lad who said he’d been paid to deliver you. He produced an envelope that contained money to pay your keep for a year.

“After that, bank drafts came from an anonymous source.” She looked up at Lorena with regret in her eyes. “Until December 1853, at which time there was no check, no notice, no anything. We never heard from your benefactor again.”

Lorena had always known she’d been abandoned. That wasn’t news. But she’d imagined—or dreamed perhaps—that one day she’d learn who her parents had been. Even if they hadn’t wanted her or been able to care for her, she would know their names.

But this…. A soul-deep hollow ache defied her to ignore the humiliation. She wasn’t even a person if she lacked parents and a date of birth. She frowned in confusion. “Where did my name come from?”

“One of the teachers at the time,” Mrs. Hugh explained. “Miss Porter. Do you remember her?”

Lorena nodded. Miss Porter had died several years ago after working at the school for many years.

“Her mother’s name had been Lorena, and she always said your mouth looked like a pretty little rose.” Mrs. Hugh actually smiled. “You were a beautiful infant. One of the prettiest we ever had. Miss Porter took an instant liking to you, and she named you.”

“And my birthday?”

“Miss Porter guessed and selected a date she liked.”

With a stoic lack of emotion, Lorena thumbed through the pathetically few pages and the even more pathetically few notations. Her grades and academic achievements had been listed. She noted her first date of employment at age twelve, and her gradual promotions from the kitchen and the laundry to teaching in the schoolroom.

Her entire life consisted of a list of financial records and class grades. No birthplace, no parents, no name.

Her parents hadn’t cared enough to name her, and if they had, they hadn’t cared enough to see she kept it.

Lorena closed the folder and picked up Emily’s. “Thank you.”

She’d known, of course. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that she’d been delivered like a bottle of milk and abandoned to spoil or seek her own fate.
“The academy did its best by you, Lorena,” Mrs. Hugh said.

“Yes,” she agreed. She’d always had a bed to sleep in and meals three times a day. This place had been her entire life.

She glanced down at the brown folders.

“There is other family listed in Emily’s file,” Mrs. Hugh told her.

Lorena quickly reopened the folder.

“An uncle, I believe.”

She flipped a page over and found the notation. “Jules Parrish. Oregon City, Montana.

“I only wrote him last week,” Mrs. Hugh said. I kept thinking I’d hear from her mother.”

“Did you telegraph?”

“The best of the furnishings and supplies barely paid for these last weeks here,” she replied. “I was hard-pressed just to afford postage to notify all the parents.”

Lorena nodded her understanding. Most likely the woman had been spending her own money.

Lorena earned her keep, and a pittance in wages. None this past month, however. Since she rarely went anywhere or shopped, she’d saved nearly all her previous earnings, though.

Mrs. Hugh’s uncomfortable expression revealed her regret at leaving the young teacher and student on their own. She’d done everything she could.
“I’ll take care of Emily,” Lorena reassured her.

“The new owners will be here Thursday,” Mrs. Hugh reminded her. “You only have until then.”

“We’ll be gone,” Lorena replied.

“You haven’t had good fortune with a teaching position?”

“Not yet,” she replied. “I’m sure I’ll hear something or find a good prospect.”
She wasn’t as confident as she let on, but she’d never given in to fear in her life, and she wasn’t going to start now. Especially not now.

She prepared a supper of oatmeal, sweetened with blackberries from the bushes that hedged the back of the property. The pantry shelves held only eight jars of pickles, a bag of oatmeal and a few canned goods.

The three of them ate in silence, each occupied with their own thoughts.
Their beds had been sold and removed, so Lorena and Emily prepared pallets of folded blankets in the room that Emily had shared with another teacher.

“Your mother still hasn’t replied to our letters,” Lorena told Emily as she spread the last blanket. She wasn’t going to give her false hopes by assuring her they would hear something soon, because it was entirely likely they wouldn’t.

“She probably didn’t get them wherever she is,” Emily replied, her voice and expression void of feeling.

“I’m going to take care of you,” Lorena told her. That was a promise she could make to this child with whom she felt a strong kinship. Emily was being abandoned just as Lorena had been. Lorena knew exactly what being unwanted felt like, and she wasn’t going to let this girl think nobody in the entire world cared about her.

Lorena herself was terrified. She’d never spent more than an hour or two away from the safety of the academy. All she knew how to do was teach young ladies, cook and clean. She had no prospects to continue here in Mercerville. She’d written all the surroundings cities, even as far as Ohio, without success.

Since her conversation with Mrs. Hugh, she’d been thinking. Emily had at least one relative beside her mother. She deserved to know her uncle. Perhaps the man’s family would be ecstatic to learn about Emily. Lorena imagined a family welcoming Emily to their home.

And once Emily had been united with her family, Lorena could find a teaching job.
“You have an uncle in Montana,” Lorena told her.

Emily’s studied Lorena with solemn brown eyes. “I do?”

Lorena sat cross-legged on her pallet across from the girl. “I think we should go there.”

Emily appeared to consider that for a few minutes. “How far is Montana?”
Lorena stood and picked up the oil lamp from the floor. “I’ll be right back.”
Previously, chairs and a rug had occupied the space at the end of the hall, but now her bare feet padded on the wood in the empty silence. She found several rolled maps standing in the corner, located the one she wanted, and returned to her room.

She placed the map on the floor and unrolled it, using the lamp to hold one side and Emily’s book the other.

Emily folded back her blanket and leaned over the map opposite Lorena. Her dark braids fell forward with the tips grazing the paper.

“Here we are.” Lorena pointed, locating a far western spot in Pennsylvania with her fingertip.

Emily had studied American geography and history, and wasn’t altogether unfamiliar with the western reaches of the country. She searched the states and cities. “Here’s Montana, Miss Rose.”

The distance was a good two feet on the enormous map. They studied the vast gap for several minutes.

Their eyes met, Emily’s dark and filled with questions, Lorena’s blue and determined.

“How far is that?” Emily asked.

“Let’s figure it out using the scale,” Lorena answered in her teacher’s voice.

“We don’t have a ruler,” Emily mentioned.

“Do you have a bookmark?”

Emily reached for a slip of paper she’d had between pages.

Lorena painstakingly marked the paper with her thumbnail according to the line on the scale in the corner, and together they laboriously followed the marks that represented railroad lines.

After several minutes of tallying, Lorena sat back on her heels. “Seventeen hundred miles. Plus about another inch or two, because I’m not certain where Oregon City is.”

A trip like that was inconceivable to a woman and child who’d rarely left the safety of this house. At that moment Lorena knew desperation at its peak, but she kept her expression and her voice calm. “I have savings we can use for train fare and food. Tomorrow we’ll go to Jamestown and learn about the train schedule.”

She gave Emily a confident nod. “We will find your family, and then I’ll acquire a job.”

Emily picked up her book, letting the map roll back into a cylinder against the oil lamp. She set the book aside and crept back to her pallet. “Maybe my mother will come tomorrow.”

Lorena didn’t have the heart to support the girl’s hope with an encouraging reply. She moved the map and lamp aside and turned down the wick.

She lay down, darkness closed around her. This wasn’t the same secure cover of night she’d known before now. Uncertainty and trepidation created shadows of doubt that remained after she’d closed her eyes.

But she had no choice. Nothing remained for her in Pennsylvania. She had no connections to anyone in the entire country. No one needed her—no one except Emily.

And Emily had people somewhere.

She was going to do whatever it took to unite Emily with her family. Every child deserved a chance. And Lorena was her only hope.

Jeannie’s Winners

cowboy-comes-backThe names of all the commenters were thrown in a hat, skaken well, and randomly drawn. . . . . .

JOYE

ESTELLA

COLLEEN

Congratulations, ladies! I hope you enjoy an autographed copy of Cowboy Comes Back. To claim your prize, email Jeannie at jeanniewrites@gmail.com and be sure to include your mailing address.

Next week you’re going to get five days of excerpts from some of the Fillies’ new stories before they even make it into print. Play along for a chance to win!

Fun and Games At The Junction

gunfighterHow many of you ladies are up for playing a game?

No, it’s not “Pin the tail on the donkey.” Good heavens! My donkey already has a tail.

The Fillies are up to their old tricks again. We’re always scratchin’ our noggins and thinkin’ up ways to entertain our visitors.

Starting tomorrow and all next week, we’re gonna share some excerpts from our work that’s never seen the press yet. Your job is to guess the author.

And I forgot to mention that we’re gonna have another book shower for the person who has the most correct guesses. In case you’ve forgotten, a book shower is a book sent by each of the authors who posts an excerpt. They’ll descend on your mail box like fresh rain falling from the sky.

If you want to be the winner of this bonanza, get your thinkin’ caps on and head for the Junction. Then check back everyday next week and try to guess who wrote what.

You’ll have more fun than a horse fly at a rodeo!

Jeannie Watt: Buckaroo Fashion Sense

Hey everyone, I’m Jeannie Watt and I write western romance for Harlequin Superromance, and I’m here today to talk about my favorite kind of cowboy—the buckaroo.

When most people hear the word “buckaroo” they think it’s an amusing term for a cowboy. Actually, it comes from the Spanish word for cowboy, vaquero. Buckaroos are cowboys who work the ION—Idaho, Oregon, Nevada. They are also known as Great Basin cowboys. Their cultural influences come from the early settlers in the region, many of whom were Hispanic.

Buckaroos have a very distinctive style about them. Their outfits are, without a doubt, the showiest of the working cowboys. A buckaroo will work for $700 a month, plus room and board, then go and buy a $500 silver bit. Their gear and clothing are an important part of the culture. In this blog I wanted to show off the local buckaroos, so I took my camera to the local Ranch Hand rodeo (in Winnemucca, Nevada) and stalked cowboys.

Now I should mention that I make custom cowboy gear out of hitched horsehair—a favorite type of gear for buckaroos—so I do have a legitimate reason for hanging around, taking photos of cowboy butts and the gear surrounding those butts.

Buckaroo Wear -1

I’ll start with hats. Buckaroos favor either a flat-top, wide-brim hat, such as this one, or a small-brimmed, Owyhee style hat, such as the one I’m wearing in my author photo. The lady in this photo is also wearing a wild rag, which is a silk scarf, usually 36 inches square. She is wearing a very sedate wild rag. Most buckaroos like bright colors and floral prints. You can also (just barely) see the silver concho on the wild rag. Buckaroos like to wear a lot of silver.

Buckaroo Wear-2

Buckaroo-3

Here’s another buckaroo, this one dressed up for town—or the rodeo. He has his wild rag and is wearing the most amazing chinks I’ve ever seen on a buckaroo. Chinks are the knee length chaps that the buckaroos wear to protect their legs when they work. Usually they are not this colorful. A pair of chinks like this are custom made and probably cost $600-700. This buckaroo also has a mecate, which is a rope made from twisted horse hair that is tied so that part of the rope makes a round rein, and the rest is a lead rope, coiled on the saddle.. It’s pronounced meh-caw-tay in Spanish, but the buckaroos call the reins a McCarty.

Buckaroo-4

As you can see from this picture, and the one above, buckaroos are not afraid of pink. He has the flat top hat and more sedate chinks than the previous guy. I love that he dresses flashier than his girlfriend. He’s also wearing an important part of buckaroo arraignment—the vest. Buckaroos haunt thrift stores looking for old suit vests to wear. At rodeos you can find vendors with racks of used vests for sale. A buckaroo likes a nice brand new Pendleton if he can afford it, but a used vest works just fine.

Buckaroo-5

This is what a buckaroo looks like in the morning when he’s about to head out to do a day’s work. He’s still wearing chinks, and there is probably a wild rag under that coat, since silk is one of the warmest things a cowboy can wear around his neck (it’s cold in the ION country) but other than that, he’s left the showy stuff at home.

Buckaroo-6

Buckaroos also have specific taste in gear. Saddles are the old fashioned kind with the high cantle and pommel.

photo-7

They like silver on their bridles and favor custom-made silver bits. Makers are very important. Garcia is a well-known old-time brand of silver bits and spurs.

buckaroo-8

Finally, they often tie a special knot in both the wild rag and their horse’s tail that ends up looking like four little squares with the ends hanging out. It’s called, appropriately enough, the buckaroo knot. It may be hard to see the knot in the horse’s tail in this photo, but it’s there.

Now you may be surprised to know that there is a Buckaroo Hall of Fame and every year they induct two or three old time buckaroos. It’s fascinating to hear the stories of the men being honored. If you ever drive through Winnemucca, try to stop and check it out. If you can’t do that, then take a look at the webpage—some of these guys in the photo on the homepage are my neighbors. http://www.buckaroohalloffame.com/index.html There is additional information on buckaroos on the About Link at the bottom.

I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone and I’ll be giving away three copies of my July Superromance Cowboy Comes Back—part of the Cowboy Country promotioncowboy-comes-back

Thanks for having me,

Jeannie Watt

Contest Soon To Wrap Up

The New Fillies Spring Roundup Meet and Greet Contest will draw to a close soon. On July 1st, it’ll be all she wrote.

One lucky person will win a $25 Amazon gift card.

If you’ve been draggin’ your feet, you better get your little behinds movin’ and sign up pronto! This is your last chance.

In case you forgot how, just look on the left side of the main page and click on the wild horses. Then enter your name. It’s easier than cuttin’ warm butter with a hot knife!

Now don’t stand there gawking.  Shake a leg!

a-horses

‘Saving’ The West

wg-logo-2011-10

In trying to come up with a topic for today’s post I pulled up my lagniappe file.  That’s the folder where I stash all the interesting stories and factoids I come across during research – the unexpected little tidbits that have nothing whatsoever to do with my actual story need, but that spark my imagination and get my ‘what if’ meter vibrating big time.

The piece that jumped out at me this time was an article I came across when researching circuit preachers for a minor story thread in one of my books.  The article talked about a very unique tool utilized by missionaries who were attempting to do their own brand of ‘taming the west’ – namely Chapel Cars.

 

chap-car-ext02These were railroad cars that were modified to serve as traveling churches.  They road the rails from town to town, diverting to sidings for as long as they were needed, then moving on to the next stop.  These cars were outfitted with very modest living quarters for the missionary and perhaps his wife.  The rest of the space was utilized for church services.

Most western movies and tales glorify the gun-toting lawman or vigilante, portraying them as the tamers of the wild and wooly west.  In actuality, the peace-minded missionaries who road the rails played a larger part in bringing peace to the lawless west than any of their more aggressive counterparts.  They traveled in their mobile churches to remote areas of the country, bringing spiritual direction and a civilizing influence to people who were starved for something to offset the violence and loneliness of their existence.

These Chapel Cars traveled throughout the west and midwest – including North Dakota, Nevada, Minnesota, California, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon and Colorado.  They stopped at mining towns and logging camps, tent cities and newly established towns, bringing their gospel message and the reminder of civilization to people who had seen neither for a long time – if ever.

And, given the unfettered existence of those in the camps and towns, their appearance was surprisingly well received more often than not – especially by the ladies of the area.  The arrival of these Chapel Cars signaled not only the chance to attend Sunday services, but brought with them someone to perform weddings, funerals, baptisms and also a welcome excuse for social gatherings.  In addition, many a rough and tough cowboy who would have balked at attending a traditional church seemed to feel differently about these side rail services.  In fact, the very novelty of the Chapel Car brought folks from miles around just to have a look.

Of course, they didn’t always receive a warm welcome.  There are recorded instances of the Chapel Cars being pelted with eggs and refuse, defaced with graffiti and even set on fire.  But these were rare instances and the cars and their custodians survived to continue their mission.

 

chap-car-int02

These repurposed rail cars were furnished with pews, a lectern, an altar table and in some cases an organ.  Depending on the construction, they could seat over 70 people inside.  The Chapel Car was a multipurpose unit, serving as a home, church, Sunday School, social hall, library and meeting place.  They carried bibles and tracts which were distributed all along the lines.  The missionary and his wife, in addition to their usual ministerial duties, were expected to function as singer, musician, janitor and cook.  They helped organize permanent churches, including raising the necessary funds and helping to construct the buildings.

There are records to support the existence of eleven Chapel Cars in all, though there is some evidence there may have been as many as seventeen.  Of the eleven known cars, three were utilized by Catholics, seven by Baptists and one by the Episcopalians.

Chapel cars remained in use throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  With the advent of World War I, however, the railroad tracks had to be kept clear for troop movement.  In addition, new regulations prohibited the railroad companies from giving ‘free rides’ to the Chapel Cars, something that had been common practice up until that time.  And as paved roads and the automobile became more prevalent it became easier for folks to travel longer distances on their own to attend church.  Thus, the Chapel Cars that had brought their spiritual message and civilizing influence to the rough and tumble west faded into history.

 

So, what is the most memorable place where you’ve attended a church service and what made it memorable for you?

Jeannie Watt Rides This Way

cowboy-comes-backHello sweet little darlings,

Miss Jeannie Watt has taken the stage and will arrive here in Wildflower Junction on Saturday.

Miss Jeannie is quite a talented lady. Not sure what she’s gonna be talking over but you can rest assured it has something to do with those sexy cowboys. Have you seen the cover of her new book? My, my, my! What a hunk. Ah do declare. Ah’m practically speechless. The name of the book is Cowboy Comes Back and it has me all google-eyed. 

The Fillies would like you all to come and help us make Miss Jeannie right at home.

So saddle up and ride on over.

We’ll be livelier than a puppy with two tails!

A Good Walk Spoiled

 
Well I wanted to write about cowboy stuff this week.
Planned to in fact.
I’ve got a book coming out July 1st
I really ought to be talking about that.
But I’ve got to tell you all about an experience I had that is odd and upsetting and may lead to me making a fortune. I went golfing.
Golfing is a very old sport and while I’ve never heard of any cowboys playing it, I’m sure it had been invented so I think I slink within the parameters of the focus of this blog…try to picture John Wayne with a golf club in his hand instead of a Winchester and we’re good to go.
No, I don’t play well. I’m not going to make a fortune by joining the pro tour. I’m not good enough for that. And well, okay, not the women’s pro-tour. And no, not even the Senior Women’s Pro-tour. (Is there one of those?)
That’s not how I’m going to make my money.
Two words
SPEED GOLF
It is my idea. I officially patent it here before you all publicly today. I share it with the world and officially claim the fortune that is to be made with
SPEED GOLF
Here’s the thing I found out about golf when I was tricked into going.
It’s slow.
I cannot believe how long those people take to line up their bodies and clubs and balls. The title of this blog is a reference to a book written by John Feinstein about the ups and downs-vicissitude if you will-of golf.
And yeah, I’ve been dying for a chance to use the word vicissitudes in a blog post, so happy day for Mary. 🙂
 I cannot believe how many practice swings those people took.
I soon lost the will to live and–in order to cling to life, as well as to remain sane (shut up, Cheryl, I am too-all records to the contrary have been sealed)
I resorted to my usual pastime.
Sarcasm.
And planning a blog post.
 I got to thinking, if they’d just let me GO!
I’m mean sure I was only dribbling the ball out a few yards…
okay, a few feet…
okay, it sometimes went backward…
when I didn’t miss it entirely.
But mostly I was whacking it forward and it didn’t go far.
While all those show offs who’d fake swing over and over and over.
And line their bodies up and stare at the hole and test the wind–
while they were getting ready to hit…and I will admit that they hit it far. I’m not saying all that time and trouble doesn’t WORK. But still, I think I’d have been able to beat them if only we’d been playing for TIME instead of strokes.
I could have hit it ten times and I’d be on the next hole already. And I think you should be able to pass people, too, like a foursome that’s ahead of you. Hey! This is SPEED GOLF people.
Think Nascar.
Get your motor running.
Born to be wild
That’s when I got the idea for
SPEED GOLF.
I want you all to mentally add a deep, deep voice-James Earl Jones and make it echo when you read
SPEED GOLF
I think I’ll make more money if you do that, so play along.
It would require padding, but most sports do.
You’d just line four people up, yell GO! and first one done with 18 holes wins.
This could really catch on.
A helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, steel toed boots, maybe a chest protector-and a STOP WATCH. All decorated with a neat little Nike Swish.
I want a cut of that money, too.
I am telling you this could be BIG.
We are a fast paced society. We time EVERYTHING.
Why not golf?
Why not
Speed Golf 
(James Earl Jones – echo – c’mon work with me)
That guy in the picture above would be FINE if he had a helmet.
Any golfers out there? What do you think?
I promise I’ll invite you all out on my yacht
just as soon as the money starts rolling in.
 
And no, I’m not getting invited back to go golfing next week,
why do you ask?
Montana Rose available for pre-order on Amazon.
Click on the cover to order

The Business of Writing

horseheader11.jpgGood Morning!

I hope you’ll bear with me as I take another excursion from my usual posts about Native America.  I’m under a horrific deadline right now — only 8 more days till due date and so, as my attention is on this very important fact right now, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about deadlines.

images6Some authors don’t have deadlines.  I knew an author once who simply wrote the books and turned them in to her publisher and they were published.  No deadlines.  I thought, Wow!  Then I know authors who wait until the last minute (like me unfortunately) and then scramble to write that book.  Once I even heard a composer say that he hadn’t written the music to the movie he was contracted to write until the week before it was due.  I remember thinking, oh, gee, that’s leaving it a bit too long.  Now, I sometimes wonder if Jane Austin worked under deadlines.  Do any of you Jane Austin fans know?images11

I know one author who was so late on a deadline (2 years overdue) that I thought surely her publishers would end her contact.  But no, it was the exact opposite.  They offered her practically the world.  Then there was another author who was so sick while she was under deadline that her husband (who was a vet) had to prop her up with things he knew that would keep her going.

a2w3zcaca3c5ls2caqik9hzca9azo3kcaxxs1ztcag5agh2ca31wpmpcaaczsxscalwdy0pcajax6oncahg4etwcaf1ejylcal8midccaxjjs9wca2msz31cazm5gxaca46m2l3ca02u9qica306vb1cahpsshk

Then there are authors who become so obcessed with writing and deadlines and writer’s block, that they turn to alcohol or some other sort of stimulant to help them to think.  Personally, I don’t take drugs or drink to excess and so this isn’t an option for me.  What I do find that works, however, in order to get that book written, are believe it or not, deadlines.  Without them, it might take me years to write a book.

ax3ekgwca0dugv4cac69liycaurrn9ccaxfytjxcafx5bs3ca1y7g4ucalchqh6cac1tm2dcax8z7wwcab6fidzcav4wc8dcah5ptgkcada9c7fcadpyvu9ca7nih03caaazbuyca4fb03ica76hoe1cakm6drkAnd then there are those distractions that keep us from writing as fast as we might — this one is very real to me.  I have cats and often, they demand more attention than I can easily give them (when I’m under deadline).  Someone once asked me how long it takes me to write a book.  I said, it all depends on how long I have to write it per my contract.  If they want a year, it will probably take me that long to write it.  If they want it in three months, I’ll figure out a way to get it done.

All right.  So for all of you who work under deadline (or don’t) come on in and tell me your thoughts on this.   Bear with me if I take a while to respond.  After all, I’m under deadline.

51obnqdgasl_sl500_aa240_1And don’t forget.  If you don’t already have your copy of my latest book, BLACK EAGLE, written under the pen name of Gen Bailey, please go and get your copy today.