Down the Santa Fe Trail

Good Morning (or afternnon or evening)!

My family is currently in the middle of what I’m beginning to call the “horrendous move of the century.”  I’m sure that’s probably not true, but it’s seeming like that to me at the moment — we are 18 days into it and are still in boxes…

But one of the good things about the move is that I’ve had to look at most every book I have as I put them back onto bookshelves and I ran across a book called “Land of Enchantment,” which are the memoirs of Marian Russell — along the Santa Fe Trail.  One of my books, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, was set on the Santa Fe Trail and so I had the opportunity to research it — and to go there and travel it just a little.    To this end, I thought I’d write a little of her memoirs from this book, as I found them very impressionable.  Imagine yourself back in the 1850’s — traveling the Santa Fe Trail:

“Minute impressions flash before me; the sun-bonnetted women, the woolen-trousered men, little mother in her flounced gingham, brother Will walking in long strides by our driver, voices of the lonely and homeless singing around blazing campfires.  Because I was the youngest, I may today be the only onen left of that band to tell of the old, old, trail that, like a rainbow, led us westward.

Picture on the right is of Montana, but it is also a picture of the prairie — there wouldn’t be any snow-covered mountains in Kansas, Oklahoma areas.  But let’s continue with Marian Russell’s impressions:

“Our trail often led among herds of buffalo so numerous that at times we were afraid.  The vast open country that is gone from us forever rippled like a silver sea in the sunshine.  Tunning across that sea of grass were the buffalo trails; narrow parths worn deep into the earth.  They were seldom more than eight inches across, and always ran north and south.  A buffalo is a wise animal and knows instinctively that water flows eastward away from the Rocky Mountains and that the nearest way to running water was always north or south..”

Doesn’t it make you feel like you’re there?  When I was doing research for THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, I read and reread this book.  Let’s read a little more:

“Scattered along the buffalo trails were the buffalo wallows, small lagoons of rain water.  They were like turquoise beads strung on the dark-brown string.  The buffalo wallows, they told us, were made by buffalo bulls fighting.  They would put their heads together and slowly walk round and round making a depression that caught the rain water.”

And before I leave the subject, here’s another passage:  “I remember so clearly the beauty of the earth, and how, as we bore westward, the deer and the antelope bounded away from us.  There were miles and miles of buffalo grass, blue lagoons and blood-red sunsets and, once in a while, a little sod house on the lonely prairie — home of some hunter or trapper.”

Doesn’t it make you feel as though you are there?

And now for another subject.  LAKOTA SURRENDER is being re-released in e-books for the first time ever from Samhain Publishing.  Here’s the new cover.  Isn’t it a honey?

And here’s a little bit about the book, LAKOTA SURRENDER, my first published book:

As she heads west to join her cavalry officer father at hisKansasoutpost, Kristina Bogard eagerly anticipates new adventures—and her first glimpse of wild Indians. She has long dreamed of flashing black eyes, skin-covered lodges and buckskin and leather. 

What she finds inFortLeavenworth, though, is a far cry from her Indian nanny’s thrilling stories. What few natives are left are crushed, brokenhearted shadows of their proud past. Except for one, a handsome warrior who stirs up a whole new set of dreams.

 Tahiska can’t take his eyes off the green-eyed beauty whose graceful hands are fluent in his native sign language. Except he can’t afford to let anything distract him from avenging his father, who was killed by two white soldiers.

 Though anger fills his mind, Kristina steals into his heart, igniting a wildfire passion that must remain their desperate secret. For soon comes the day of reckoning, when justice will be served…or a travesty will shatter their love.

Coming soon — December 11, 2011 from Samhain Publishing.

Well, I’m off to unpack more boxes — and more boxes…and more boxes…  So come on in and let’s talk — about the book, about moving — your thoughts — or about the beautiful prairie — did it come alive for you?

Website | + posts

KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to for all contest rules.

13 thoughts on “Down the Santa Fe Trail”

  1. Best of luck resettling in your new home! Did you move to a new city? a new state?

    This summer we helped my daughter and son in law move from an apartment into their first home. This has been an ongoing process since July 18th. They are still waiting on furniture and unpacking boxes. A bad wind storm also toppled a few trees which we had to saw up and haul away. There’s always something new to keep us busy when we visit them. They moved in state to a city an hour away from their apartment.

    Best wishes for continued success with your writing!

  2. Beautiful passages, Kay! Talk about taking a person into a moment, those surely did. They made me a bit homesick.

    Great cover for LAKOTA SURRENDER!

    Good luck with the move.


  3. Beautiful post! I loved all the passages!

    I’ll have to say the thoughts of me moving somewhere even scares me. I have collected so much junk over the years I would never get it all moved. We have been in the same place for 27 years and believe me when I say that’s a lot of junk.

  4. It’s almost like actually being there! Beautiful

    We’ve been in our home for over forty years now,
    but we have helped others with moves. It’s not one of my favorite activities!

    Pat Cochran

  5. Hi Laurie!

    Yes, boxes, boxes everywhere and much, much work to do. We moved to a new city — still in the So. CA area, but new to us. I’m not one of those that likes to move a lot and so I hope we don’t have to move again soon. We were in our last place for 15 years…

    I so understand about the furniture — we just got internet access today — I’ve been having to go at it from Starbuck’s…

    Have a super day!

  6. Hi Kirsten!

    Like you, those passages took me there — I could smell the campfires, hear the talk of the men around me — see the prarie — smell the buffalo and experience the red, red sunsets.

    Oh, for those days again.

  7. Hi Quilt Lady!

    Tell me — we’d been in the same place for a little over 15 years and we had accumulated much. Add to that moving my husband’s two different businesses and my two different businesses — and my husband works in sheet metal and so much heavy equipment to move also.


    I so understand.

  8. Hi Pat!

    You know I told my husband it’s a little like a nightmare…

    Another deep, deep sigh. Boxes, boxes and more boxes to unpack and figure where in the world they go. : )

    On another hand, I’ve certainly been finding alot of things I thought were lost… 🙂

  9. Hi Karen, Moving is SO MUCH work! Packing, tossing, unpacking, arranging, then figuring out how to store what doesn’t fit! Here’s hoping you’re near the end of the hard part 🙂

  10. I “feel your pain.” I never really minded when we were in the military. We always moved a lot ourselves in addition to what the movers took. With my books and my husband’s tools, we were always overweight. We have moved ourselves and our children many times. Somehow everything seems to get heavier as we get older.

    Since we have been renovating, we have been moving boxes from room to room as we go along. Over the years, we moved all my aunt’s things and my husband’s mother’s things here, two full 3 bedroom houses. My boss moved and left over half her stuff for me to clear out of her rental and to take care of. I lost my job and had to bring all my stuff home from the library (as a children’s librarian I had LOTS of stuff). I am spending all my time trying to go through stuff and decide what I can part with. I am going to have to give up a lot more than I already have. We have already donated a dozen truck and car loads to different charities.

    Like you I am finding books and other things I didn’t know I had or things I have been looking for for years. Hopefully, you will not be digging through boxes much longer. Just keep thinking how nice it will be for the holidays – a shiny, new house all newly set up. Good luck.

  11. Hi Patricia!

    I feel your pain with this move — moving other people also. It’s never fun and never easy, is it? My goddaughter moves alot — her mother did the same, and so she doesn’t object.

    But me?… It’s truly a pain. Not only a new address, but new things to set up, new places to explore…once all the boxes are put away. 🙂

    Thanks for your thoughts, Patricia.

  12. Kay, I moved a dozen times before I moved out of my parent’s house at the age of 16 and I’ve moved 7 time since then. While in the military, our limit was a big van reefer which held 40,000 lbs and we filled that truck to the roof every time. Talk about boxes! This last time, there were almost 2 dozen boxes of books and no huge truck. Just our half ton and our greenhouse trailer. Yikes!

    Thank you for bringing Marian Russell to my attention. Land of Enchantment is aptly named for her style of writing with beautiful descriptions.
    I wonder if she was related to ol’ Charlie Russell? Both are artists.

    Anita Mae.

Comments are closed.