Caroline Clemmons To Pay the Junction a Visit


Hello Darlin”s,

Miss Caroline Clemmons has boarded the stage and will arrive here on Saturday, February 2nd.

We never have to twist the dear lady”s arm to get her to talk about cowboys and ranchers and the like. She”s always raring to share some fascinating tidbit. I do believe she has extensive knowledge of the old west.

Just wondering if she knows anything about lovesick

mules. My Jasper is still carrying on something awful with a pretty little donkey over at the next farm.

Miss Caroline has packed some books to give away in her traveling bag to promote her new book called BRAZOS BRIDE. It looks like a humdinger.

If you want to get your name in the drawing for a book hightail it over

to the Junction come Saturday.

We”ll be waitin” for you.

Cheryl St.John: Those Church Ladies & Their Marvelous Cookbooks

I have a thing for cookbooks. And especially church cookbooks. And especially especially old ones. Those church ladies have always been able to cook, haven”t they? I also have a thing for interesting tidbits of American history and enjoy learning how things were done and imagining the people. In the 80s I participated in putting together a church cookbook, and I bought enough copies so that my daughter”s could all have one once they were married. The recipes have become such family favorites that they are staples at gatherings and even weekday meals. One of my daughters wore hers completely put until it fell apart.

Years ago a friend from a writer’s listserv sent me a copy of a cookbook her grandmother had given her. Little did she know that all these years and books later, I would still be gleaning helpful tidbits from a booklet titled COOK BOOK compiled by THE LADIES of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Eureka Kansas, 1896.

making scones

From this little gem, I have used names, recipes and tips, and created businesses for the fictional towns in my stories. Cookbooks are pieces of history, especially those put together by the women of those early towns and cities. The advertisers who paid for space and thereby funded the ladies’ project were a diverse group. Leedy’s Dry Goods and Clothing House for example boasts the lowest prices guaranteed and quality unexcelled. Their tag line: Good cooking is most appetizing on neat linens. We have them.

Chas. A. Leedy sold dry goods, boots and shoes, fancy goods, clothing, and men’s furnishing goods. I have no idea what a men’s furnishing good was, but I am confident Mr. Leedy sold only quality in that line.

Interesting that listed among the directors of the First National Bank was none other than C.A. Leedy. Seems men’s furnishings were making him a tidy profit.


H. C. Hendrick called himself a dealer in pure drugs—my how the times have changed. No one admits to being a drug dealer nowadays. H.C. sold medicines, chemicals, oils, varnishes, glass, putty, fine brushes (my husband swears a little putty and a fine brush can conceal anything; he must have descended from the Kendricks). They also sold a full and complete line of fancy toilet articles, fine stationary, choice perfumes, books, dye stuffs and all other articles usually kept in a first class Drug Store. Prescriptions were accurately compounded.

Then there was H.C. Zilley, dealer in hardware, stoves and tinware who sold agricultural implements and wagons, with sidelines of furniture and undertaking. Why not get into the undertaking business? He already had the shovel and wagon.

Lewis’ Art Studio did photography in all its branches; proofs are shown and all work guaranteed. VIEWING A SPECIALTY. I don’t know what that means either, I’m just telling you how their ad reads. YOUR PATRONAGE SOLICITED. Those printers liked their capitals, and they had all kinds of fancy fonts. This place was opposite the courthouse, FYI.

1874Now, Frank B. Gregg, he sold Fire,…Lightning and Tornado… Insurance – and he liked effusive punctuation. Okay, this was Kansas, so that tornado insurance probably came in handy. Suppose Aunty Em took out a policy with Frank?

A.Frazer’s Transfer and Bus Line: Meets all Trains, All Calls Carefully Attended

Your guess is as good as mine here.

Miss Nellie Smith was pianist, teacher of piano and organ and a pupil of Rudolf King, Kansas City. Her terms were moderate.

W.W. Morris was another dealer in pure drugs and medicines. Also advertised were paints, oils, varnishes school andmiscellaneous books, stationary, window shades, wall paper, musical merchandise, jewelry, fancy and toilet articles. “We manufacture the following specialties and guarantee them to be the BEST articles for the purposes recommended: Calla Cream, Castole,

Excelsior Compound.” They were located NO. 23 OPERA BLOCK.

The church ladies who contributed to this publication had wonderful names like Madella Smith, Eva Downard, Katie Addison, Olive Sample, Hattie Kelley, Lydia Thrall, Cornelia Newman, Mabel Mueller, Lulu Kendrick and Lizzie Bell.


A big percent of the recipes contain lard, and many of them, like biscuits and Boston brown bread, ginger cake and ginger snapsare items we could whip up in our kitchens today, with the exact ingredients and directions. Others—not so much. Like suet as an ingredient. I’ve only fed suet to the birds. And what is black mustard? It’d required to make cucumber catsup.

Another example:

Scrapple: Scrape and clean well a pig’s head as directed in pig’s head cheese, put on to boil in plenty of water, cook 4 or 5 hours, until the bones will slip readily from the meat :::are you shuddering yet?::: take out, remove meat, skim off the grease from the liquor in pot and return the chopped meat to it, season highly with salt and pepper and a little powdered sage if liked, and add corn meal till of the consistency of soft mush; cook slowly 1 hour or more, pour in pans and set in a cool place. This is nice sliced and fried for breakfast in winter and will answer in the place of meat on many occasions.

As you can see the Methodist Episcopal Church Ladies have given me plenty of material for my stories. Little did they know so long ago that their contributions and ads would

be research and fodder for imagination.


My newest venture is indie publishing, and I”ve just released three of my earliest books for Kindle and Nook. It was interesting to read over the stories I wrote so long ago, and it was great to have an opportunity to tweak things and bring them more up to date.

If you have a Kindle or Nook, you can start reading any or all of them within minutes by clicking on one of these links. If you”ve already read them or plan to, I would appreciate all reviews.

Land of Dreams

For Kindle:

On Nook:


In this tale of hope and love, too-tall spinster Thea Coulson wants to be a mother to a child who arrives in Nebraska on an orphan train. When Booker Hayes shows up to take his niece, a marriage of convenience suits them both. Thea’s dreams are filled with the tall, dark army major, but she guards her heart. Booker’s first taste of home and hearth has him longing for more, but first he must win the hearts of both of the females in his life.




Saint or Sinner

For Kindle:

On Nook:


Joshua McBride returns from the war a changed man, ready to put down roots and plant his feet in the community.  Prim and uptight Miss Adelaide Stapleton, leader of the Dorcas Society, doesn’t believe he’s changed—people are never what they seem.  But she has plenty of secrets of her own—among them the inescapable fact that Joshua sets her heart to pounding and makes her long for his disturbing kisses. How long can she keep her own past hidden—and resist temptation?



Heaven Can Wait

For Kindle:

On Nook:

Raised within the confines of a strict religious community, Lydia Beker longs for a simple touch, dreams of seeing more of the world. When handsome farmer, Jakob Neubauer and his family visit the bakery where she works, she is fascinated, but Outsiders are forbidden to her. Jakob is attracted to Lydia, as well, and she makes the difficult decision to leave everything she knows behind to marry him. He offers love and passion, but will she ever fit into his world?

Heaven Can Wait is one of the top ten January covers at in the Indie Cover Awards.

Denver in the 1880s

The road to redemption is never smooth. Nor is it boring. With that in mind, I’ve tried to avoid using clichéd characters in my books, especially in my Charity House series. Although I’ve had the requisite lawmen and schoolmarms, I’ve also highlighted a rebel preacher, a Shakespearean stage actress, a frontier doctor, an opera singer, a swanky hotel owner, a frontier lawyer and even an artist. Each book in the series is connected in some way to Charity House, a baby farm dedicated to caring for the abandoned children of prostitutes. I’m working on the eighth book in the series, with at least four more coming.

Set in Denver, Colorado in the 1880s, the city itself is always an important character. Thus, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Denver at a time when it was morphing from a mining boom town into a metropolitan city. Two of my favorite buildings

were built at the time my books occur. Both are visited by my characters in my current manuscript.

The first is The Brown Palace. The hotel was built in early 1890, when people were still flocking to the west and seeking their fortunes in gold and silver. Denver was a favorite stop for all, whether coming from or going to the mountains. Henry Cordes Brown, a former carpenter from Ohio, arrived in the city in 1860 and was responsible for building the hotel. When he first settled in Denver he purchased several acres of land that he originally used to graze cattle. He eventually donated some of that land for the state capital and then decided the city needed a grand hotel on part of the rest.

Designed in the Italian Renaissance style, the exterior of The Brown Palace was made of Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone. The building housed the country’s first atrium lobby with balconies rising eight floors above the ground, cordoned off with cast iron railings. No wood was used for the floors or walls, unusual for the time period and making the structure fireproof.

The hotel opened on August 12, 1892.

One of the long-standing traditions still in practice today is “taking tea” at the Brown Palace. It is served in the atrium lobby, accompanied by either a harpist or piano player. Next time I’m in Denver I plan to partake in said afternoon tea. Anybody want to join me?

My second favorite structure is The Tabor Grand Opera House, built in 1881. Although professional opera was performed in Denver as early as 1860, it wasn’t until The Tabor opened that the city hosted full productions from first class companies. Built by one of Leadville, Colorado’s new millionaires, A. W. Tabor, the opera house was designed specifically to rival Europe’s grandest theaters. No expense was spared. The finest words were used and an impressive chandelier hung high above the parquet floor of the auditorium. The ceiling was 65 feet high. In the center was a circular dome painted to represent a sky with clouds.

The stage was as equally grand as the rest of the building, measuring 72feet wide by 50 feet deep. Large

stained glass windows provided ample light for daytime events. There were over 1500 velvet-covered seats in the main auditorium, as well three tiers of private boxes on either side of the stage. If I could take a trip back in time I’d love to take in a performance of the Barber of Seville, a favorite of many Denver residents at the time of the building’s completion.

Which would you rather visit? The hotel or the opera house?

Fritos, Snickers, Dr. Pepper and Texas

Being born and raised in Texas there are two things I can’t help doing and that’s eatin’ and braggin’, which combined into today’s topic … food and drink invented in Texas.

Charles “Elmer” Doolin was a confectioner in San Antonio, Texas, during the Depression. But when he first tasted a local version of fried corn chips, he was hooked. He bought the recipe for $100 and with the help of his mother and father, using various types of corn, he developed the famous clip in their kitchen. It is rumored that his mother, Daisy, loaned him the money to purchase the recipe by selling her wedding band. Doolin made it his life’s work to perfect the flavor of Fritos. He varied the recipe, created his own hybrid corn, and developed a conveyor-belt manufacturing until to make the chips more efficiently. Along the way, he also invented the Cheeto.

Two popular items were developed especially for the Frito included Frito Chili Pie, invented by Doolin’s mother, and chocolate-covered Fritos; which I must admit I’ve never tried and frankly not sure it’ll make it to my bucket lists of foods I want to try before I die.  Of interest, Elmer Doolin, by most accounts, was a vegetarian and avoided salt.

The Mars candy production plant in Waco, Texas, produces nearly all of the Snickers bars sold in America. The landfills of Waco produce nearly all the fuel used to heat the Mars plant. A program designed to harvest the methane gas produced naturally by garbage puts it to good use. As a result, Mars saves more than a half a million dollars a year, and the people of Waco get to breathe a bit easier. Mars also makes the famous Milky Ways and M&M’s, but not at this facility.

Also coming from Waco is our

famous soft drink, Dr Pepper. It was invented by a pharmacist in 1885. He had noticed that people loved the sweet smell of the soda fountain in the store and he was trying to capture that sensation in a taste.

By 1891, Dr Pepper was being produced at a bottling plant in Dublin, a few miles away, and it became a national hit in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Today, the Dublin plant still makes Dr Pepper according to the original formula with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. And readers, I didn’t make a mistake by not putting a period after Dr, since it was dropped by the bottling company in the 1950’s.

Waco’s Dr Pepper Museum is a storehouse of information and memorabilia about the soft-drink industry in general and the headquarters of the Free Enterprise Institute, which teaches students about entrepreneurship.

Now this is coming from a true blue Texan. Growing up, any soft drink used to be called a Coke … be it Dr. Pepper, root beer, 7Up or a real, honest-to-goodness, Coca-Cola.

It was probably frustrating for car-hops and waitresses to always have to ask, “What kind of coke, do you want?”

What is your favorite chip, candy bar or drink?

Since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I’ll give away an autographed copy of “Be My Texas Valentine” to one lucky person who leaves a comment.


Arguably the most famous of revolvers is the Colt Single Action Army Model 1873 – the Peacemaker.

Once the Rollan White patent giving Smith & Wesson the exclusive right to manufacture a bored-through cylinder which allowed cartridges to be loaded from the rear ran out, Colt

set its designers loose creating a weapon with a revolving cylinder that held six enclosed metal cartridges that could be loaded from the rear of the cylinder for the United States government service revolver trials of 1872.

The Colt Single Action Army revolver replaced Colt’s percussion revolver. Colt’s weapon quickly gained favor over the equivalent Smith & Wesson weapon and remained the primary US military sidearm until 1892.

The very first production Single Action Army, serial number 1, was chambered in .45 caliber with 40 grains of fine grain black powder and a 16.5 gram round-nosed bullet. That was one powerful charge.

Originally called the “New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol” it quickly became the standard military service revolver.

The Single Action Army was manufactured in standard barrel lengths of 4¾”—the “Gunfighter” model, 5½”—the “Artillery” model [pictured above], as well as 7½”, standard for the Cavalry. There was also a model with a barrel less than 4” unofficially referred

to as the “sheriff”s model”, the “banker”s special”, or the “store keeper” model. Small enough to conceal in a pocket as a backup weapon or for personal protection.

With minor changes and major improvement, the Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolver was manufactureduntil the beginning of World War II, when Colt ceased production in order to fill more orders for the war.

General George S. Patton, who began his career in the horse-cavalry, carried a custom-made Single Action Army revolver with ivory grips engraved with his initials and an eagle, which became his trademark. He carried it until his death in 1945.

Colt didn’t plan to resume production, but customer demand generated by Old West movies starring John Wayne and others, had them issuing the second generation models beginning in 1956.

The power, accuracy and handling qualities of the Single Action Army (SAA) made it a popular sidearm from its creation. Thanks to Colt enthusiasts, Cowboy Action Shooting and the Single Action Shooting Society, and continued interest in the Old West, Colt still makes a version of this revolver today.

Charlene Raddon's Winners! Woo-Hoo!


I do declare! Miss Charlene really got all of our taste buds fancying some chocolate. I think even ol” Jasper wanted some.

And what

prizes! Lord have mercy!

First Place Winner — COLLEEN — gets her pick of either the chocolate pot or $10 gift card!

2nd Place Winner —CINDY W — gets whatever the

first place winner doesn”t choose.

Congratulations, ladies! I”m thrilled to death for you both. Someone will contact you for the particulars so keep watching your email.

That”s it for now. Take care and God bless!

Charlene Raddon & Chocolate: A Victorian Treat? Or More?

Today, chocolate is a universal sweet loved by virtually everyone, but how long has it really been around? The Victorians adored the hot drink, but did they invent it?

Actually, the first chocolate house in London opened in 1657, advertising the sale of “an excellent West India drink”. In 1689, a noted physician, Hans Sloane, developed a milk chocolate drink, which was initially used by apothecaries. Later Sloane’s recipe was sold to the Cadbury brothers. London chocolate houses became trendy meeting places for the elite London society that savored the new luxury.

But chocolate goes back much farther than the seventeenth century. The fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao (chocolate), can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 B.C.

The Maya are credited with creating a drink by mixing water, chile peppers, cornmeal, and ground cacao seeds. The Aztecs acquired the cacao seeds by trading with the Maya. For both cultures, chocolate became an important part of royal and religious ceremonies. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. Chocolate was so revered, the Aztecs used it as both a food and currency. All areas conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.

In 1521, during the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors discovered the seeds and took them home to Spain. The Spaniards mixed the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The result was coveted and reserved for the Spanish nobility. Spain managed to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of the world for almost 100 years.

Once discovered, the drink spread throughout Europe.

Somewhere along the way, some European decided a special pot to serve the beverage was needed. The earliest pots were silver and copper. Later, European porcelain manufactures began producing them as well. These pots had a right-angle handle and a hole in the lid in which a wooden stirrer, called a molinet or molinillo, stirred the mixture. Rather than a log spout which began in the middle of the side of the pot, as coffee and tea pots do, the chocolate pot has a flared spout at the top. If you look on e-Bay, you’ll see pots of both styles, those with the long side spouts offered as combination coffee or chocolate pots. Prices range considerably, but a good pot can run as much as $700.00, and a set, with cups and saucers and sometimes sugar and creamer, can be as high as $3,000. Although none of mine are this valuable, my personal collection of chocolate pots numbers about 25 at the moment. The photographs are from my assortment.

Although it doesn’t appear in my book, To Have and To Hold, hot chocolate would have been served in Viola Simses’ eatery, and my heroine, Tempest Whitney and her children would have gone there to enjoy the special beverage. Viola undoubtedly owned a chocolate pot, but she would have reserved its use for her private quarters, not the eatery where the cups and saucers would surely have ended up broken.

The origins of the word “chocolate” probably comes from the Classical Nahuatl word xocol?tl (meaning “bitter water”), and entered the English language from Spanish. How the word “chocolate” came into Spanish is not certain. The most cited explanation is that “chocolate” comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word “chocolatl”, which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word “xocolatl” (pronounced [ ?o?kola?t?]) made up from the words “xococ” meaning sour or bitter, and “atl” meaning water or drink. Trouble is, the word “chocolatl” doesn”t occur in central Mexican colonial sources.

Chocolate first appeared in The United States in 1755. Ten years later the first chocolate factory in the U.S. went into production.

BIO:  Charlene”s first serious writing attempt came in 1980 when she awoke one morning from an unusually vivid and compelling dream. Deciding that dream needed to be made into a book, she dug out an old portable typewriter and went to work. That book never sold, but her second one, Tender Touch, became a Golden Heart finalist and earned her an agent. Soon after, she signed a three book contract with Kensington Books. Five of Charlene”s western historical romances were published between 1994 and 1999: Taming Jenna, Tender Touch (1994 Golden Heart Finalist under the title Brianna), Forever Mine (1996 Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer”s Choice Award Nominee and Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll finalist), To Have and To Hold Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll finalist); and writing as Rachel Summers, The Scent of Roses. Forever Mine and Tender Touch are available as e-books and after January 24, To Have and To Hold will be as well.

When not writing, Charlene loves to travel, crochet, needlepoint, research genealogy, scrapbook, and dye Ukrainian eggs.



Charlene is having TWO giveaways today. First prize winner can choose between a Nippon Geisha Girl chocolate pot (photo to the right) or a $10 Amazon gift card. A second prize winner will receive whichever item the first prize winner does not select. All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is leave a comment.


For the Love of Books

Since I”m a writer, it probably comes to no great shock to any of you that I love to read. I”ve been a dedicated bookworm since I was four years old, always hungry for a new story to get lost in.

Well, this month, in addition to my writing responsibilities, I”m also involved in some serious reading. You see, one of the biggest awards for romance writers, the RITA Award, is in the judging stage, and every author who enters a book is also asked to judge. So I have 8 books to read over the next few weeks. Such a hard job, I know. It breaks my heart to have to hide away and do my “homework.”

All this reading, though, put me in mind of some of the wonderful artwork that depicts women reading. Portraits of men might include horses, hounds, or guns, but women were the ones who chose to be painted with their favorite books. As I browsed through this artwork, I came a cross one painter in particular who had captured several such booklovers on canvas–Charles Edward Perugini.

Perugini was born in Italy and studied art there as a young man, then met up with Lord Frederic Leighton, an Englishman who brought the young artist to England and became his mentor and patron. Leighton provided the social invitations needed for Perugini to meet the priveleged families who would commission portraits from him and help him establish his career. In 1874 Charles Perugini married Kate Dickens. Yes that Dickens. Kate was the youngest daughter of famous author, Charles Dickens, and was herself an artist.

The portrait on the left is of Perugini, painted by none other than Frederic Leighton. The lady, of course, is Kate Dickens.

Perugini specialized not only in portraits, but also in depicting scenes from ancient Greece and Rome.


Some of my favorite portaits of his are below. Notice all the

lovely books!




Portrait of Miss Helen Lindsay









In the Orangery
Girl Reading (Probably Kate Dickens)











So which of these paintings is your favorite? Are they putting you in the mood to pick up a good book? They are me. Think I”ll get back to that novel I was working on.

Charlene Raddon Here Saturday


Hello Darlin”s,

This weekend, special guest, Miss Charlene Raddon, will stroll into the Junction. That”s Saturday, January 26th.

Miss Charlene has

been here several times so this is old hat for her. We still need your help though in welcoming her back. She”ll tell us about chocolate and chocolate pots. I sure take a fancy to chocolate so I can”t wait. She”s whetted my appetite for the treat already.

And she”s packed an honest to goodness Nippon Geisha Chocolate pot and a $10 Amazon gift card in her saddlebags to give away.

The dear lady has a new e-book out called TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. It sure looks like a good one.

Rise and shine on Saturday and saddle up. You”re all invited to come along on this trail ride.

Don”t forget now! That”s Saturday, January 26th.