I am Susan Mires and I am delighted to share a guest post here on Petticoats and Pistols.
My adopted hometown where I’ve lived for the past dozen years or so is St. Joseph, Missouri, which has the slogan “Where the West officially started getting wild.”
Outlaw Jesse James gets credit for that.
Jesse and his gang were hiding out in St. Joseph when Bob Ford, that dirty little coward, laid Jesse in his grave. The bullet hole created by the fatal bullet is framed in a wall of Jesse’s house that is now a museum.
St. Joe (it’s an informal place, feel free to use its nickname) attracted all kinds of characters back in the day. Located on the banks of the Missouri River, the city was a transportation hub. During the gold rush of 1849, prospectors waited in line for days to get a ride on the ferry to cross the river. Those who tried to cut in line were often cut down. Hundreds of wagon trains loaded supplies in the city – among them the ill-fated Donner Party.
St. Joe was the last point of civilization before reaching the vast untamed wilderness. Or as we call it, Kansas.
Teasing between the two states is (mostly) good natured today, but the “Border War” between Kansas and Missouri was intense and deadly during the Civil War. The University of Kansas mascot Jayhawk draws its name from wartime raids. Jesse James got his start riding with a renegade Confederate general.
St. Joe’s history may seem a bit slanted toward the “pistol” side, but there’s plenty here for romantics, as well. The Pony Express is probably the romanticized of all. The mail delivery service only lasted for 18 months, yet 150 years later, it sill inspires an annual re-ride by devoted fans.
The Patee House was a hotel during the Pony Express period and now it’s a treasure trove of a museum, including the ball room that conjures up images of ladies in gorgeous gowns.
One of the city’s greatest treasures is its architecture. The old buildings have a sense about them that says St. Joe. The race is on to preserve these historic structures while the elements and the cost of restoration make it a challenge. But if you’ve always dreamed of owning an 1884 grocery store, you could be in business for $5,000.
It’s been a pleasure for me to show you around my hometown. I hope you have enjoyed it and now have a taste of St. Joe’s Western flavor and maybe even decide to come for a visit and officially get wild.
Now let’s chat! What’s your favorite historic site to visit? What puts your hometown on the map?
Okay, I made it home from the Romance Writers of America national convention in Atlanta last month without melting.
I”d been warned about the humidity, but it wasn’t so bad. Honest. And I even
managed a bit of sightseeing. I mean, any self-respecting romance writer simply must visit the Margaret Mitchell House.
Actually it was in a small, first floor apartment inside this house where Margaret decided to “try writing a book” while healing up from a foot injury that kept her from her newspaper reporter job.
Hmmm. Try writing a
The book of all fiction books? The first book I tried writing is, well, I think it’s stuffed in the attic somewhere. Those were the days when that dinosaur called “the typewriter” didn’t save or print anything. No matter, the tale is garbage. But Margaret’s typewriter can be worshipped today in the apartment. It might be a reasonable facsimile thereof, though. Nonetheless, the miracle machine produced
her One and Only Book. Sheesh.
She wrote the last chapter first. When a publisher visited,
wanting to see her work, she first refused. Then gathered up the manilla envelopes
stuffed throughout the place, each one holding a chapter.
Talk about a pantser. Oh, a pantser who never got rejected.
Sheesh some more.
Supposedly some parts of the book are autobiographical. A suitor with the initials C.H. did die in the war. (WWI) She married one man while in love with another, hubby’s best friend. (No matter, it all worked out.) She
didn’t have kids because, well, Scarlett didn’t think much of motherhood either. Remember her little unwanted Wade and Ella? I always thought SO MUCH of
Rhett for liking those kids.
Of course I was unable to resist purchasing the massive hardback copy as a souvenir. I think it added six pounds
to my luggage weight, but the airport didn’t say a thing.
Oh, the day I visited was a first-rate, hot Atlanta day. Therefore, I also purchased a MM bottle of water proudly wearing
the taglline “I’ll Never be Thirsty Again.”
All right, today you must answer this gut-wrenching question in order to get in a name draw for a copy of my latest release, Midnight Bride. (print for U.S. residents only, please. International guests, PDF or Kindle.)
Who’s your LEAST favorite character in GWTW? (If I’d said
favorite, y’all would pick Melanie. I decided to kick things up a notch.) And
please tell me why.
Now, about Midnight Bride. This is a couple who does give a
damn about each other. Forced to marry or else lose the ranch they both think
they own, Jed and Carrie fight off falling in love while she searches for her
late granddaddy’s will. Hoping to prove her bridegroom is an imposter. And of course
deep down, she doesn’t want any such thing…
He stood in the doorway, hatless just like
he’d been in the mercantile. And just as breathtaking. In one hand he held a bunch of Miss Mattie
Price’s iceberg roses tied with a lavender bow.
From the other hand hung a hatbox from
Gosling’s Mercantile. The lilac shawl she had admired was draped over his
Without a word, he walked over to her and laid the shawl gently across
her shoulders. She had stopped breathing. His eyes locked with hers, and while
she couldn’t read the message in his gaze, she found she couldn’t turn her own
away. When he held the flowers to her determinedly, she had no choice but to
“Take off that mourning bonnet,” he told
her in such a way that it didn’t seem like an order. While she did so, he
opened the hatbox.
Within a half minute, the beautiful purple
chapeau she had fingered lovingly not fifteen minutes ago rested on her head.
He tied the bow jauntily under her chin, then all but snapped his heels
together as he stood in front of her.
“I’m Jed Jones,” he announced. “Your
Carrie’s lips opened but no words came
out. Not knowing what to say or what else to do, she untied the bonnet’s
bow. He never stopped looking at her.
From the corner of her eye, she could see the older men in half-standing postures
like they hoped to escape any second. However, she knew them well, knew they
wouldn’t leave her all alone.
Suddenly she found her voice, willing it
not to tremble.
“My bridegroom? I beg your pardon. What on
earth are you saying?” She turned toward the judge. “Is this about that
‘notorious’ authentic document?
Judge Jacobson was nodding, somewhat
defeated, while the sheriff pulled at his scrawny beard.
When neither spoke, her supposed
bridegroom took up the call.
“It’s true, Miss Zacaria Smith. If you
don’t marry me by midnight tonight, the Lazy J-Z will be deeded to the Mother
of Mercy Orphanage outside San Antone.”
Then he took her hand, placing his lips
against the inside of her wrist.
Miss Susan Mires has put on her spurs and saddled up. She’ll ride into town on Saturday, August 31.
The dear lady hails from the historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, the point where the west started getting wild. St. Joseph was the place where settlers could buy provisions and wagon trains formed. It also was the home of Jesse James and where Bob Ford shot him to death.
Miss Susan will take us on a tour of the town. It’s a fascinating place that’s full of history.
So get your chores done early come Saturday and head over here.
She’s a Pinkerton detective; he’s got more aliases
than can be found in Boot Hill.
Neither have a clue about love–Gunpowder Tea
After reading about Kate Warne, the first known female detective, the idea for my new book Gunpowder Tea popped into my head. I just knew I had to write about a heroine who was a Pinkerton detective.
Kate Warne worked for the Pinkerton National Detective agency from 1856 to her death in 1868. Since women were not allowed to join the police department until 1890, the firm’s founder Allan Pinkerton was well ahead of his time in hiring her. Originally, he thought she was applying for a secretary job, but she convinced him to hire her as a detective.
To a pickpocket the world is at his fingertips.–Gunpowder Tea
Quick to see the advantage of female detectives, he put her in charge of the Pinkerton Female Detective Bureau. Formed in 1860 the purpose of the female division was to ‘worm out secrets’ by means unavailable to male detectives. She also managed the Pinkerton Washington department during the war.
Little is known about Kate’s early life. She was supposedly a widow when Allan Pinkerton hired her, which may or may not be true. Her job was often to elicit sympathy and therefore confessions from the criminal element, and widowhood might have been part of her charade.
For a job that supposedly doesn’t pay,
crime has no lack of employees. –Gunpowder Tea
A master of disguise, Kate could change her accent as readily as she could change her appearance and her “Southern Belle” disguise helped save President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s life. After verifying a plot to assassinate him, Kate wrapped Lincoln in a shawl and passed him off as her invalid brother, thus assuring his safety as he traveled by train to Washington D.C. Kate never slept the whole time Lincoln was in her charge. This may or may not have been the inspiration behind the Pinkerton logo: We never sleep.
Since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 wiped out Pinkerton records little is known about those early days. What is known is that Kate caused trouble between Allen and his brother Robert. The two argued over Kate’s expenses, which Robert thought were excessive. He didn’t think it right for the company to pay for his brother’s “sordid affair.”
Stealing another man’s wife is a serious crime,
second only to horse rustlin’. –Gunpowder Tea
There’s no question that Allen cared deeply for Kate, but biographers are split on whether there was an actual affair. What’s not in question is Kate’s reputation as an excellent detective; her trailblazing efforts helped the Pinkerton Detective Agency rise to fame–and inspired me to write a book!
“Exquistely intriguing” –Publishers Weekly Starred Review for Gunpowder Tea!
Order from your favorite bookstore or click cover to order on line
Big changes loom on the horizon here at the Junction.
We’re deeply saddened to have to say goodbye to Victoria Bylin, Cheryl St. John, and Elizabeth Lane. These ladies have saddled up and are riding headlong into new things far away from the hustle and bustle of Wildflower Junction. It’s been such a joy to get to know each of them. We wish them well with whatever they do next. But they promise to come back now and again to say howdy and catch us up on their doings. If you see them coming down the trail give them a great big grin and wave your arm off.
Another change is how we do Fridays. Starting September 6th, Friday will be reserved for new releases, previews of upcoming books, excerpts of new stories, and whatever else we think of to do. How exciting is that?
We hope you’ll enjoy the upcoming format and ride this new terrain with us.
My daughter got married this past weekend. And let me just say, weddings ain’t what they used to be. She chose an old farm built in the 1800s for her venue and had perfect weather for an outdoor wedding. The decorations were simple, creative and set an intimate/personal feel that brought to mind days of old. Instead of “telling” you all about the wedding, I thought I’d simply share pictures.
I think it’s always fun to go behind a book. How did the author come up with the names and the idea? In my new eKensington release The Tycoon and the Texan coming out next week, the story and names developed in a very personal way. I’d like to share the story behind the book then let my hero, Nicodemus Dartmouth, tell you a little bit about the him and the story.
My husband and I have friends who we’ve known for over forty years and vacationed with since their boys and our girls were young.
In 2002, my DH and I were on our way to meet them in Florida when we received a call, thank goodness for cell phones, that Harry had emergency heart surgery. He was in a coma, and the future was uncertain. We immediately turned our car north and headed for Dartmouth Medical Center where he laid critically ill for weeks. We were determined not to leave until he and Pat were safely home under their own roof. And, that we did.
One day while sitting in the waiting room, my attention was drawn to a show on TV, you know the ones up in the corner of the room you have to crane your neck to see and can barely hear, that pertained to a foundation’s auction of bachelors for charity. That seeded the idea for a story about a strong, multi-millionaire who ends up buying an ugly duckling at his own foundation’s charity ball. Of course, she had to be from Texas and the hero’s name had to be as strong and willful as my character, so Nicodemus Dartmouth was born.
Now nearly ten years and many vacations together later, my story The Tycoon and the Texan is due to be released soon and needless to say I dedicated it to our dearest friends.
Let’s get on with learning more about Nicodamus Dartmouth. I’m gonna let him tell you about himself first, and then he’ll answer some questions.
Nick: I don’t really like being referred to as a tycoon because I see myself as just another hardworking man in his 30’s. I have to admit being a product of a wealthy, widowed mother, who I don’t always see eye-to-eye with, did have its benefits. I worked my fingers to the bone to establish one of the largest construction firms on the west coast, while being CEO of Mother’s charity … the Elliott-Dartmouth Foundation. I own a Double A baseball farm team and love to workout with my players. Mother is pretty well appalled when I show up at the office with bloody road rash showing through a tear in my baseball pants. By the way, Josie, the Foundation Director and mother hen, thinks I belong in the dog pound. I have one supporter in the organization, well most of the time, and that’s McCall Johnson, who used to be my secretary at the construction company until I transferred her over to the foundation when I found myself crawling up twenty stories of red iron thinking about her.
Now back to the charity auction that Phyliss mentioned. Mother thought it was a grand idea to auction off bachelorettes, while I told her from the start is was a bad, really bad idea. She called me into the office to go over the final arrangements, including the table decorations. I need to be out at the construction company offices arranging for a shipment of material we don’t need to be shipped to Habitat for Humanity, but no I’m standing here looking at a bunch of flowers stuffed in a vase. I won’t even tell you what I think about them because Mother sure didn’t approve of my description.
The auction was a nightmare, just as I had predicted, although it raised a lot of money for the foundation … a good bit coming from me.
The jinx I apparently put on the event began when one of the bachelorettes called in sick and our resident Texan McCall Johnson was forced to step in. In an unexpected turn of events, and I have to admit a bit of jealousy on my part to boot, I ended up paying what McCall called “a vulgar” amount for a week long date with her.
That began our adventures … seven days to Texas.
I wanted so badly to show her that our lives weren’t that much different, but at every turn, I hit a roadblock. From nearly cutting my finger off trying to prepare dinner on my private boat for her to seeing a ghost on Harris Grade coming out of Lompoc, California, something got in my way of showing her that I don’t get everything I want, although she thinks I do.
It took me the full seven days, plus some while visiting her Granny’s ranch in Texas, but I finally succeeded at showing the independent, spirited, uprooted Texan that our lives aren’t as different as it might seem, only to find that we are more alike than I ever dreamed … including our secrets.
I hope you’ll go buy The Tycoon and the Texan by native Texan, Phyliss Miranda, so you can learn more about me and Miss McCall Johnson.
Two celebrate the release, I will give two lucky winners an eBook of “Tycoon”, if you leave a comment. If you don’t have an eReader, I’ll send you a copy of our award winning anthology, A Texas Christmas. I hope everyone who buys my new contemporary release enjoys the journey Nick and McCall take on their Seven Days to Texas!
I think I’ve finally done it. This has to be the smallest pistol ever. Certainly it’s the smallest one I’ve ever pulled the trigger on. It measures just over 1 ½”–and I have no idea who made it. I’ve been over it with a magnifying glass and see no marks other than those when it was created.
It’s a pearl-handled single-shot 2mm pinfire, a “Berloque” in French or “Breloque” in German, according to the Charleston Mini Gun Works.
The first Berloques, or miniature guns, were invented Zwei neue werden herausgebracht, die dann in den Microgaming-Casinos uber Download, Flash oder Quickfire-Plattform gespielt werden konnen. and produced by watch maker Franz Pfannl in Austria in 1899 as an accessory. Perhaps as a watch fob. And they’re still being made and collected today. There’s even a Miniature Arms Society (www.miniaturearms.com).
To give you a little perspective on my miniature pistol’s size, that’s my wedding ring below it.
I thought it must have been made as jewelry, a conversation piece, but it came complete with a pill capsule of blank cartridges. We have a dozen cartridges and they all fit inside a pill capsule with room to spare.
The barrel is hinged to fold down and away from the body of the pistol for loading.
For a comparison, top to bottom, here is a .45mm casing, a .38mm cartridge, a .22 cartridge and the 2mm pinfire cartridge.
I can’t find any proof of who made the pistol, but I plan to wear it on a silver chain the next time I meet up with my Cowboy Action Shooting friends. I have no doubt it will start a few conversations.