“The Richest Square Mile On Earth


Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for brochures, booklets, diaries, etc. when I’m traveling. That’s why I like to drive. The trunk is always way, way lower on my return trip.

This, unfortunately, remained true even after I discovered the internet where so much information is at my fingertips. There’s still nothing like glancing through all my shelves when it’s time to blog. I always find such neat little tidbits that might well escape me when I’m searching a particular subject on the internet.

This time, my eyes rested on a booklet, “Central City, the Richest Square Mile on Earth and the History of Gilpin Count” by Darlene Leslie, Keller Rankin-Sunter and Deborah Wightman.

Or course, the title caught my interest first. I knew immediately it had to do with gold mining, which is one of my favorite subjects. I think it’s the gambling blood in me but also because it was so responsible for the growth of the west. I’ve always been fascinated that the gold rush not only lured gold seekers from throughout the United Sates but also hopefuls from throughout Europe and Asia. A dozen languages were often spoken in mining camps. Talk about your melting pot.

The “Richest Square Mile on Earth” has details I’d not read before or didn’t recall.   I remember exactly when I bought it. I was to attend a RWA board meeting in Denver and had decided to go several days early and drive up to one of the old gold towns. I wasn’t deterred by what turned out to be a driving snow storm and had a marvelous time.  As for the book, it  must have been the few paragraphs that attracted my attention to this particular publication. “In May of 1859, the Little Kingdom of Gilpin (County)” was born as the cradle of Colorado history and the cultural and economic center of the west.” It covers Black Hawk, Central City, Navadaville, Rollinsville and Russell Gulch.

Annual production of precious metals grew rapidly after gold was found and in 1870 it was estimated at $1 million dollars. By 1880 it rose to more than $2 million annually, by 1890 to $3 million and by the early 1900s production topped out at more than $4 million dollars annually.

That doesn’t seem so much today. But look at the wages of that day. But first, this admonition from the time. “Coloradoans, as a class, are working people, always busy. It is no place for drones. There is always work of some kind for those who honestly seek it. Make a name for honesty, sobriety and reliability, and you can soon attain any position and salary that your abilities will warrant. If you are not such a person, stay away from Colorado, and let your friends, if you have any, support you in idleness.”

After that pithy warning from the past, the authors list the wages paid in 1881: Railroad laborers, $1.50 – 2.25 per day; blacksmiths and roofers, $2.00 – 3.00 per day; coal miners, $.75 to $1 per ton; clerks, $1 to 5 per day by ability; sawmill men, $1.50 – 3.50 per month with board; harness makers, $2.00- 2.25 a day; dining room girls, $20-30 per month & board (cooks and girls for private families are in great demand); Laundresses, $20 – 30 a month; farm boys, $10 to 15 per month.

Another admonition is at the end of the list: “Above all things, don’t come to Colorado unless you are determined to make a good honest record. Keep away from the gambling houses, bar-rooms and bagnios and you are all right. Visit them and you are lost, maybe, with your ‘boots on.’”

Prices for goods were in line in the salaries. Overalls were $.75 each while drawers went for $.50 and fine white shirts for $1.25. A “tonsorialist” (barber) charged $.75 for a shave and haircut. A lecture on Darwinian Theory was $1.00.

To protect the honest citizens of a mining community, a Miners’ Court was formed and developed a “criminal code.” The first section of the code declared that anyone convicted of willful murder, “shall be hung by the neck until he is dead.” The second section proclaimed that any person guilty of manslaughter, or homicide, shall be punished as a jury directed.

The third section said any person “shooting or threatening to shoot another, using or threatening to use any deadly weapons, except in self defense, shall be fined a sum not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, and receive, in addition, as many stripes on his bare back as a jury of six men may direct, and be banished from the district.”

There were more sections, but you get the idea. Justice was sure and harsh. The local newspapers often reported it as such. “Load up your shotguns. There have been three attempted robberies,” according to the Daily Register.

Also reported by the Register, “Tramps are becoming numerous. A little cold lead would do them good.”

And how could you have an old mining town without ghosts? Gilpin County has a number of them, including the spirit of a Buddhist monk who inhabits a house originally built as a Buddhist Temple. The current owners of the house say he resides in a corner behind a large mirror and, when he appears, has a pleasant smile. The same house is also inhabited by the ghost of a young girl who was killed by accident in the same house. Her mother and father were arguing in the front yard. Her mother was holding a cast iron frying hand and threw it at her husband. It went through the French windows are struck the child in the head. The theory is that the monk stays behind to look after her. Or it could be that, since the Buddhist temple was used for years as a parlour house, the monk is there to protect some lost souls.

These are the kind of details that a writer relishes, that puts authenticity in the story she, or he, tells. It’s why I keep returning to those wonderful little booklets, to the diaries you can only find only in the towns they celebrate. The internet is a wonderful tool, but nothing can really replace all those treasures that weighed down my trunk.

Kaki Warner’s Winners


Miss Kaki sure does know how to entertain a body. Everyone seemed to have a great time visiting with her. I for one hope she doesn’t forget the way to the Junction.

I put the names in my trusty old hat and here are the results……….



Woo-Hoo, ladies! I know you’re happy as June bugs on a warm rock. Please send your mailing particulars to Miss Kaki and she’ll get the book to you lickity-split.

Miss Kaki thanks everyone for dropping by to chat. She had a great time.

Filly New Release Update – February 2011

Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at the junction.  To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers.  And to learn more about the authors, click on thier names.



Proud Rancher,  Precious Bundle
By Donna Alward 

After a hard day’s ranching, Wyatt Black wants to kick back with a cold beer. But when he steps onto his porch, he has unexpected company—his tiny abandoned niece!

Against her better judgment, Wyatt’s neighbor Elli Marchuk agrees to help him for a few days.  Elli soon falls in love with baby Darcy, but it’s the child’s grouchy, gorgeous protector who’s got her head over heels….






Sold to the Highest Bidder
By Donna Alward 

All she wants is his name on the dotted line. He’s got other ideas… 

For Ella, marrying Devin had seemed like a good idea at the time. Friends since childhood and in love with him for as long as she could remember, marriage had been the next logical step. Then the real world called, and Ella’s feet had itched to get out of Backwards Gulch, Colorado.

Now, with a new opportunity on the East Coast beckoning, it’s time to put her past behind her once and for all. When she sees Devin standing on a charity auction block, she decides it’s the perfect opportunity to finally get his signature on the divorce papers he never signed.

Devin’s certain about one thing when he sees Ella for the first time in twelve years—she’s not the girl he married. The way she left him still stings, and if she wants him to sign on the dotted line he’s going to make her work for it…for the full forty-eight hours she paid for.

When the old attraction flares between them, the years apart disappear and resolve melts faster than high-country snow in summer. But when Ella awakens with the same determination to get back to Denver, divorce papers in hand, she has a problem…

Devin still hasn’t signed them.






The Outlaw’s Return
By Victoria Bylin

J.T. Quinn would know Mary Larue’s beautiful voice anywhere. He just never expected to hear her singing in a Denver church. The gunslinger comes to town to reunite with the only woman he’s ever loved . . . but the actress he left behind two years ago is gone. In her place is a deeply Christian woman with a successful restaurant, the town’s respect and a pair of younger siblings in her care.

J.T. doubts he’ll ever be worthy of Mary again, but he can protect her and her siblings from the threats of a local ne’er-do-well. And with courage and faith, perhaps even an outlaw can earn redemption . . . and love.

Kaki Warner: Realism in Western Romance


Romance novels are all about suspending belief and creating characters (especially men) who look, act, smell, move, react and think the way we wished real men did.  This is particularly true in the bedroom-or as is so often depicted in Western romances-on the back of a horse.


I don’t want to burst any bubbles, but that just can’t happen, not unless the characters were circus folk.  And even then, it would require a catatonically calm horse, a man so gifted at multi-tasking (is there such a thing?) that he can simultaneously hold the reins, maintain his balance on a moving horse, and enjoy a carnal interlude with a woman, who-let’s be honest here–would have to be as limber as a gymnast, tough enough to rise above (so to speak) belt buckles, holstered pistols and that nasty saddle horn, and not suffer motion sickness when facing backwards.  It could happen, I suppose.  But wouldn’t their heads crash together with every stride the horse took?

But you won’t find those unpleasant realities in a romance.  Or any of the other improbable, disgusting, shocking, and unmentionable things that TRULY did happen in the Old West.  Such as…

…that whole hygiene thing.  Let’s face it.  Real cowboys didn’t roam the range with a trunk of clean clothes, laundry detergent, shaving gel, a loofah, or (dare I say it?) toilet paper (which they called personal papers).  And what “personal papers” they might have were not quilted or scented or stamped with pretty flowers.  They were rough, scratchy, barely processed sheets of paper with splinters.  Ewe.

And you know that old saying about what bears do in the woods?  Well, cowboys not only did that, but they also relieved themselves onto their campfires (hopefully not while they were cooking).  They even had an expression for it-“Pissing out the fire and calling in the dogs.”  I know.  Disgusting.  And yet even today-and I’m not kidding here-men will happily do this when the opportunity presents itself.  I swear.  Supposedly, they do it to douse the flames so an errant spark won’t start a forest fire.  Maybe.  But I suspect they also like the sound it makes, and pride themselves on doing something no right-thinking woman would even attempt.  But I could be wrong.


And as long as we’re talking about disgusting things that are too realistic to be included in a Western Romance, what about tobacco?   Sure, sometimes cowboys fed it to their horses as a cure for worms, but mostly they chewed the stuff.  Which requires spitting.  Which is why it’s rarely mentioned, because really, how sexy can a hero be with a bulging cheek and a mouthful of brown spit?  I’m starting to make myself sick, so we’ll move on to actual smoking, which created its own set of problems in the Old West.  With no ashtrays handy, a fellow didn’t dare flick a lit match or hot cigarillo into the tender-dry brush.  So what did he do with the butt?  He put it out in his palm…AFTER dampening that palm with…you guessed it…spit.

But don’t expect to see that happen in a western romance.  Why?  Because we western romance authors have class.  And even though we might know what REALLY happened in the Old West, we also know how to dance that thin line between fantasy and reality.  That’s what we do, and we’re good at it.

But just for research purposes, what would a hero have to do to cross the line?  What is too gritty, and what is OK?

I’m giving away an autographed copy of my new book CHASING THE SUN (the third book in the Blood Rose Trilogy) to two lucky people who drop by and leave a comment.

Visit my website at www.KakiWarner.com

Paty Jager: Rodeos and Cowboys


Thank you for having me back here at Petticoats and Pistols. I enjoy hanging around with like minds.

I have a confession to make…while I live in the west, grew up riding a horse as much as walking, and one of the best small town rodeos is held in the county where I lived…I can count the amount of rodoes I’ve attended in my lifetime on my two hands.

But that didn’t stop me when I decided my hero in my next contemporary western would be a bareback rider. Luckily for me four time and reigning world champion bareback rider Bobby Mote lives in Central Oregon. I contacted him and asked if I could interview him and his wife to learn the life of a rodeo athlete. We e-mailed back and forth and finally came up with a time when he would be back in the area between rodeos.

I arrived at his rural house just as he was finishing up his run and exercise routine. Yes, did you know that rodeo cowboys actually have a set routine of strength and flexibility training they go through during the rodeo season. That’s how they can survive some of those falls that make me queasy.

Bobby explained how to stay on a horse and what his hectic season/routine was like and then his wife, Kate, let me in on the family aspect of the rodeoing and some facts about the National Final Rodeo that only participants would know.

After over an hour of visiting and questions, I wandered around the living room browsing at the glassed in belt buckles and trophies this young man has amassed over his rodeo career. My conversation with him changed a whole lot of misconceptions I had about rodeo cowboys.

Do you have any misconceptions? Tell me what you think about when you think of a rodeo cowboy and I’ll not only see if I can answer the question but you’ll have your name put in the drawing for my newest release, Bridled Heart.

My January release Bridled Heart is not only about the rodeo lifestyle but about a woman who has finally found control over her past and looks toward a brighter future.


Blurb: A specialized placement schedule and self-imposed vow of celibacy keeps ER nurse, Gina Montgomery, from getting too close to anyone.  Music is her only solace and release from a past laced with abuse.  But when that music draws the attention of a handsome bareback rider, her chosen solitary life-not to mention her vow-gets tested to the limits.

Holt Reynolds let his younger sister down when she needed him most.  With the similarities to his sister far too evident in Gina, he can’t get the woman out of his head or her poignant music out of his heart.  But how can he find a way to free her bridled heart before the past resurfaces to destroy their one chance at happiness?


This book is available in e-book and print at The Wild Rose Press or any e-book and print outlet. Click Here to order.




Kaki Warner Pays Us a Visit


Hello darlings,

Ah”m beside myself with joy. Miss Kaki Warner is paying us a visit on Saturday. Woo-Hoo! Ah”m dancin” a jig.

Miss Kaki writes some of the best western romance that ah”ve had the pleasure of reading. She”ll have in mind to discuss the whys play pokies for online and wherefores of realism in the romance genré. She”ll give us a chance to air our opinions on the subject.

The dear lady will also tell us about her new book called CHASING THE SUN. This is the third and final story in the Blood Rose Trilogy. Ah have it on good authority that it”s probably the best of the bunch. Miss Kaki will give away two copies to some lucky commenters.

So shake your bustle and hightail over to the Junction on Saturday.

Don”t you dare miss it!

What Would Our Characters Say?

When I told my best friend I’d received a Kindle for Christmas, she called me a traitor. I don’t blame her. A few months ago I’d have called me a traitor, too.  An e-reader? Me?  NO. THANK. YOU. I wanted to feel the book in my hands.  I wanted the pleasure of shelves filled with pages, both read and unread.  Books are my friends!  I like being with them.

And then I started hearing rave reviews for Kindles and Nooks. I wasn’t ready to make the leap, but my husband saw the glint in my eye and got me a Kindle for Christmas.

Traitor or not, I love it.  It’s easy on the eyes. I can enlarge the font, which means I can read without my eyes getting fatigued. Best of all, it’s easy to hold.  After a day at the computer, thick paperbacks are hard on my wrists.  The Kindle gets propped on a pillow and that’s it.  I can read more, read faster and read comfortably. With the built-in light in the cover, I can also read in the dark.

My friend had a good point, though. What about power outages?  What if I can’t charge the battery?  The battery lasts a long time, but my mind flashed to that old Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith plays the sole survivor of some sort of global devastation. He’s actually happy, because at last he can read all the books in the world . . . and then his eyeglasses break.  That episode terrified me as a child and it still does!   

As an author, I see other benefits to e-readers.  My backlist is easily available. That’s a real plus when an author does a series and the publishing schedule isn’t as tight as she would have liked.  That happened with “The Women of Swan’s Nest” series.  It’s made up of four books:

The Maverick Preacher, February 2009

Wyoming Lawman, October 2010

The Outlaw’s Return, February 2011

Marrying the Major, October 2011

I’m glad readers who pick up The Outlaw’s Return will have access to the first two books in the series.  The original “Swan’s Nest” print schedule got juggled when I did Kansas Courtship for a continuity. My first Love Inspired Historical, The Bounty Hunter’s Bride, is a prequel to the series and is also available for download.

So what do you all think?  Have you tried a Kindle or a Nook?  What do you like best? What do you dislike?  And last, can you imagine the reaction of our Old West heroes and heroines who owned very few books and treasured the ones they had?  I can just imagine Mary Larue, the heroine in The Outlaw’s Return, staring in shock at a Kindle and saying, “What in the world!”

Coming February 8th — The Outlaw’s Return

J.T. Quinn would know Mary Larue’s beautiful voice anywhere. He just never expected to hear her singing in a Denver church. The gunslinger comes to town to reunite with the only woman he’s ever loved . . . but the actress he left behind two years ago is gone. In her place is a deeply Christian woman with a successful restaurant, the town’s respect and a pair of younger siblings in her care. J.T. doubts he’ll ever be worthy of Mary again, but he can protect her and her siblings from the threats of a local ne-er-do-well. And with courage and faith, perhaps even an outlaw can find redemption . . . and love.


The Outlaw’s Return is available from Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Click here to see my full backlist on Amazon.

Paty Jager Joins Us Again!


The Fillies pride themselves on finding top-notch guests and Miss Paty Jager is no exception. She’ll be at the  Junction bright and early on Friday.

Miss Paty will delight and entertain us with a discussion about cowboys and rodeos, two of our favorite subjects. Yours truly can sure stand to talk about these all the day long. Ah can’t wait for Miss Paty’s arrival.

The dear lady has a new book out called BRIDLED HEARTS. We won’t even have to twist her arm to get her to talking about it. It sure looks like a dandy. And she’s giving away one copy to some lucky person. All it takes to get your name in the hat is to drop by and leave a comment. Ah know you can do that.

So don’t sit there like a bump on a log when Friday rolls around or you’ll miss out!


On a vast open plain a few miles south of Ponca City, Oklahoma, lies the burial ground of one of the greatest ranching empires of the West—the Miller brothers’ 101 Ranch.

None of the former 101 Ranch estate remains today. All of the buildings were destroyed and the land subdivided and sold after the Miller Brothers’ final bankruptcy. This photo shows the 101 Ranch as it existed with ranchhouse, corrals, and out-buildings.

Established in 1893 by Colonel George Washington Miller, a former Confederate soldier, and his wife Molly, the 101 became known as the “Largest Diversified Farm and Ranch in America.”  It was nicknamed the “White House.”

 Not only was the 101 one of the largest working ranches west of the Mississippi, it was even more famous for its Wild West shows.  These displays of horsemanship, roping, and daring “rescues” transitioned from local shows to the national level in 1907 when the 101 Wild West Show performed at the Jamestown Exposition in Virginia.  In 1908, the tour circuit began in earnest.

Mural Honoring the Miller Brothers and the 101 Ranch & Wild West Show. Located at 207 W. Grand in Ponca City, OK

The Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show wagons.

Pawnee Bill and Zack Miller on horseback in Oklahoma.

The Miller brothers, Joseph, George Jr., and Zack, had permitted some of their cowboys to perform at a local fair, and from this, their own Wild West show grew to become known worldwide.

It was essentially a Wild West show, complete with cattle, buffaloes, cowboys and Indians.  It included an all-around crowd pleaser—the attack on the stagecoach.  But it also contained elements of the circus with sideshows, and “freaks” such as the Bearded Lady.  In the heyday of its popularity, the Millers’ 101 Wild West Show netted them over one million dollars per year!

The idea of formalizing the performing cowboys into a Wild West show came from the Millers’ longtime friend and neighbor, Major Gordon W. Lillie—also known as Pawnee Bill.  Pawnee Bill eventually combined his own Wild West show with Buffalo Bill Cody’s.  The 101 Wild West Show, however, remained solitary, boasting stars such as black bulldogger Bill Pickett, Bee Ho Gray, early movie star Tom Mix, Mexican Joe, and eventually, Buffalo Bill Cody as well.

The Miller brothers were latecomers to the Wild West show circuit, causing them to suffer financially with the advent of movies.  Even so, their show became the largest in the nation by the 1920’s, requiring more than 100 train cars to travel from town to town.

By 1916, the two younger Miller brothers, George Jr. and Zack, gave up trying to work with their temperamental oldest brother, Joe.  It was during this time period that Joe hired an aging Buffalo Bill Cody to star in a WWI recruitment show:  The Pageant of Preparedness.  Cody quit the show due to illness, and died within a year.  Still, Joe tried to keep the show going, but was unsuccessful.  He offered it for sale to the American Circus Corporation in 1927.  They were uninterested, suffering from financial distress as well.  On October 21, 1927, a neighbor found Joe Miller dead in the ranch garage of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Several months later, his brother, George Jr., was killed in a car accident.  In 1932, Zack Miller was forced to file for bankruptcy.  The U.S. Government seized what remained of the show’s assets and bought 8,000 acres of the 101 Ranch.  Zack Miller died in 1952 of cancer.

Today, what remains of the once-glorious three-story stucco 101 Ranch headquarters is rubble.  Over ten years ago, efforts began to turn the site into a roadside park. 

Bill Pickett, the inventor of bulldogging, or steer wrestling, is buried there.  On the same mound where Bill Pickett lies is a memorial to the Ponca chief, White Eagle, who led his people to a nearby reservation during the 1870’s from their holdings along the Nebraska-Dakota border.

 The stone monument was built as an Indian trail marker where signals and messages could be left by different friendly tribes who passed by.  These tribes generally understood the signals, and could tell which way the other travelers were going.  Gradually, settlers took away the stones for building purposes.  Because Colonel George Miller and White Eagle were lifetime friends, and Joe Miller was adopted into the tribe, the renovation of the trail marker had significance to the 101 Ranch for many reasons.

 The 101 Ranch was a bridge between these old, lost days of the early West, when Colonel George Miller started the venture as a settler after the States’ War, and the modern times of change.  The 101 Ranch was the headquarters for the show business contingent of cowboys and other western performers of the early 1900’s.  Will Rogers was a frequent visitor, as well as presidents and celebrities from around the world.  Some of the first western movies were filmed on the 101 Ranch. 

Though there isn’t much left of the actual building, the 101 Ranch exceeded the expectations for a “cattle ranch.”  Indeed, it was a virtual palace on the Oklahoma plains; a place where dreams were lived.

 In my historical western novel, Fire Eyes, Kaed Turner talks with his friend and mentor, Tom Sellers, about giving up law enforcement and settling down to ranching.  At first, Tom sees it as an unattainable dream; but as the conversation progresses, the possibilities look better.  Here’s what happens!


Tom smiled. “Glad you’ve got somebody good—deep down—like you are, Kaed. Ain’t too many men who’d take on another man’s child, love her like you do your Lexi.”

Kaed put his hand against the rough wood of the tree and straightened out his arm, stretching his muscles.

Tom drew deeply on his pipe, and Kaed waited. He’d known Tom so long that he recognized the older man was going to broach a subject with him that he normally would have avoided. Finally, Tom said, “I told Harv he needed to find someone. Settle down again. Grow corn and make babies. Think I might’ve offended him. But after seein’ him with little Lexi, it hit me that he seemed content. For the first time in a long while.”

It had struck Kaed, as well. Harv rarely smiled. But when he’d played with Lexi, it seemed that grin of his was permanently fixed on his face.

“Seems that way for you, too, boy.” Tom wouldn’t look at him. “Seems like you found what you’ve been looking for. Don’t let marshalin’ ruin it for you, Kaed. I’ve stayed with it too long. Me and Harv and Jack, we’ve been damn lucky to get this old without gettin’ killed either in the War, or doin’ this job.”

“Tom? Sounds like you’ve got some regrets.”

Tom nodded. “You made me realize somethin’, Marshal Turner, and now I don’t know whether to thank you or cuss you. When I saw the way that woman looked at you, the way that baby’s eyes lit up, it made me know I shoulda give this all up years ago and found myself somebody. Taken the advice I gave Harv. Planted my seed in the cornfield and in my woman’s belly, and maybe I’d’a been happier, too.”

“It’s not too late.” Kaed’s voice was low and rough. The doubt he’d had at starting his own family again was suddenly erased by the older man’s words. Nothing would bring his first family back. But he had a second chance now, and he was a helluva lot younger than Tom Sellers. He’d had it twice, and Tom had never had it at all. Never felt the love flow through a woman, through her touch, her look, and into his own body, completing him. Never looked into the eyes of a child who worshipped him. He wouldn’t have missed that for anything the first time. Or the second. Tom turned slowly to look at Kaed, the leaves of the elm tree patterning the filtering moonlight across his face. “You think that cause you’re young, Kaed. Twenty-nine ain’t forty-three.”

“Forty-three ain’t dead, Tom. There’s plenty of women out there. Plenty of land. Room to spread out. What’re you grinnin’ at?”

Tom laughed aloud. “Got any particular woman in mind?” Quickly, he added, “Now, remember, Kaed. She’s gotta be young enough to give me a baby, but not so young she’s a baby herself. Gotta be easy on the eye, and I want her to look at me like your Jessica looks at you. And by the way, have you got any idea where a fella could get a piece of good land for raisin’ cattle, with a little patch for farmin’?”

Kaed’s lips twitched. Tom was dreaming, but only half dreaming. The serious half had taken root in his heart and mind. Kaed knew before too much longer, that part would eat away at the lightheartedness until it took over completely, becoming a bold, unshakeable dream that he would do his utmost to accomplish. Now that Tom had envisioned what his life could be, Kaed knew it would fall to him to help make it a reality.

“Let’s end this business with Fallon. After that, we’ll find the land and the cattle.”

“Don’t mean nothin’ without the woman, Kaed. You oughtta know that.”

“I do.” Kaed smiled, his thoughts straying to Miss Amelia Bailey, the not-so-young-but-young-enough school teacher in Fort Smith, who always seemed to trip over her words when Tom Sellers came around. Just the right age. And very easy on the eye. “Stick with me, old man. I may even help you find a decent woman to settle down with.”

To order FIRE EYES: