Miss Barbara White Daille has climbed into her pickup and pointed it toward Wildflower Junction. She’ll arrive on Saturday, August 2.
I don’t rightly recall but I think this may be her first visit. She’s going to talk about women in the rodeo. An interesting subject. I certainly will not be riding anything more dangerous than my rocking chair. You gotta be awful tough to ride bulls and broncs, risking life and limb.
Miss Barbara is giving away some books too.
You won’t want to miss this. Please come and help us show her a big down-home welcome.
This past week I wrote a scene in which my cowboy hero was forced to sit in a formal parlor. It was during the 19th century age of clutter which meant the front room was filled to capacity with ornate furniture, needlepoint cushions, framed photographs, musical instruments, and enough froufrou to create a dusting nightmare. The poor man in my story couldn’t move without knocking over a beaded fringed lamp or a delicate music box. Worse, he had to trust his six foot two bulk to a spindly chair since no “sincere” furniture existed.
Parlors Were Never Designed for Comfort
A proper parlor had one purpose and one purpose alone; to showcase a woman’s gentility to all who entered.
In his book Domesticated Americans Russell Lynes describes the parlor as a chamber of horrors for children. “It (the parlor) set husband against wife, daughter against father and swain against maiden.” It also took a lump out of the family budget.
A Hostess Must Avoid Any Allusion to the Age, Personal Defects or Ill-manners of Guests
No one really knew how to act in a parlor and this unleashed a steady stream of articles and books on the subject. Not only were people counseled on how to enter a parlor without “Jiggling their bodies” but how to leave it. Phrases, such as”What-d-ye call it,” “Thingummy,” “What’s his name,” or any such substitutes for a proper name or place were to be avoided at all costs.
The Ladies Indispensable Assistant explained the rules of exiting in great detail. “Don’t stand hammering and fumbling, and saying ‘Well I guess I must be going.’ When you are ready go at once.”
Parlor rules existed for every possible situation, even courting. Never was a man to sit with his “arms akimbo” or strike an awkward pose. Nor was he to enter a parlor without the lady’s invitation.
God Made Weather to Give Us Something to Talk About
Visitors were cautioned against talking about religion, politics, disease, dress or, heaven forbid, one’s self. Cookbook and etiquette writer Miss Leslie wrote that inquiring about a hostess’s children was to be done “with discretion.” Saying that a son “was the very image of his father,” could be offensive if the father was not a handsome man. Even then the visitor could be treading on ice if “the mother was vain and wished the children to look like her.”
Several things happened to make the parlor with its endless rules fall out of favor. Women were admitted to college and soon after entered the work force. No longer was a woman judged by her parlor but rather by her contributions to society.
The westward movement should also receive credit for putting sanity into the home. Though some pioneer women tried to carry the tradition westward, many soon learned the folly of such ways—much to their husbands’ gratitude.
Not all parlors died a quiet death. Some lingered into the twentieth century. As a child, I remember our next door neighbor’s parlor—and yes, that’s what she called it. Everything in it including the lampshades was covered in plastic which made a crinkling sound if you wiggled. Did any of you spend time in such a room?
Working Undercover is no Job for a Lady!
Click cover to pre-order book 1 in Margaret’s exciting new series
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, TX. I came home with a suitcase full of new books, a brain full of great information, and a camera full of pictures. This was the first time my hubby tagged along for the ride at one of these conferences, so he and I had a lot of fun exploring in the evenings. The River Walk was gorgeous, of course, and the Alamo is a classic not to be missed, but my favorite attraction of the week was the chuck wagon dinner and wild west show we treated ourselves to at Enchanted Springs Ranch.
The Wild West lives on at the ranch with an authentic old west town on this 86-acre working cattle ranch. They have a heard on longhorn cattle as well as many exotic animals. For example:
Pet alpacas named Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Wild oryx and zebras we saw on our tractor ride to the fun feathered friend strutting down main street in all his plumed glory.
The ranch boasted numerous buildings. A church with it’s own graveyard. Two saloons. A gunsmith. A dressmaker. A general store. The blacksmith. Even a Texas Ranger office filled with museum worthy exhibits.
The buildings were so much fun to explore and proved great fodder for the imagination. However, there were two true highlights of the evening for me.
The first was the singing cowboy who entertained us while we feasted on barbeque chicken, brisket, warm potato salad, and peach & blueberry cobbler.
Dressed in cowboy gear and playing guitar, our host sang the greatest cowboy songs of all time. Everything from The Streets of Laredo to Home on the Range to Happy Trails. His voice was smooth, his guitar melodic, and in between, he gave us a little history lesson regarding the origins of each song. Fabulous!
After the supper dishes had been cleared away, we all gathered around the corral for a rootin’-tootin’ wild west show in the style of Buffalo Bill Cody. The show featured Pistol Packin’ Paula. She was a tiny little thing, but she sure packed a wallop! She is an honest to goodness, two-time world champion pistol twirler. She spun those pistols around her fingers faster than a blink, in and out of the holsters, over her shoulders, around her back. Whew! It was crazy. Then she started in with the trick shooting. She even reproduced Annie Oakley’s famous, over the shoulder rifle shot with a hand mirror. Her horse Jake did tricks as well.
Overall, it was a fabulous evening. It was hot as blazes with temps in the upper ’90s but no one seemed to care. If you are ever in the San Antonio area, make the short trip to Enchanted Springs Ranch and treat yourself to the chuck wagon dinner. You’ll be glad you did!
What is your favorite hidden vacation gem?
Any western-themed places you would recommend for a visit?
Back on the frontier, settlers learned to make do with what was at hand, especially if they were ill, since there was little or no medical access. Times were hard and death came often. A person had to have a pretty vast knowledge to survive. Here’s a look at some of their resources. You’re gonna laugh at a few of these.
For Fever — Willow Bark or Sassafras Tea
Gunshots — First removing the bullet, then pulverizing gunpowder placed inside lint scraped from a garment and applied to the area OR some people collected spiderwebs and bound them on the wound
Snakebite — Mix vinegar with gunpowder and apply to the bite OR cauterize the bite with nitrate of silver then give the patient a concoction made from ammonia and whiskey — Native Americans would scrape the wound then apply rattlesnake weed — then another solution was binding thick mud on the wound to draw the poison out
Wounds of any kind — Women used knitting needles to probe a wound, sometimes lancing it with a razor if they thought it needed it, and used embroidery scissors to remove torn skin or even fingers nearly severed in an accident
Preventing contagious diseases and colds — Asafetida (gum resin) or cloves of garlic was hung around the neck
Yellow Fever and Typhoid — Doses of quinine and calomel
Sore Throat — Wrap with red flannel OR a kerosene-soaked rag OR placed a poultice of fried onions around the neck
Stomach Worms — Treated with boiled pumpkin seed tea
Croup — Treated with skunk grease
Bleeding Cuts — Place flour on it to staunch the bleeding
Burns — Apply a p0ultice made of slippery elm and Indian meal OR make a salve of turpentine, sweet oil, and beeswax OR a salve made from chamomile, sweet clover and the inner bark of sweet elder trees mixed with mutton tallow and beeswax OR a mixture made from the white of an egg and lard
As you can see from some of these it’s a thousand wonders anyone survived at all. I’m just glad I live in the modern world where PROVEN medical treatment that works is close by. How about you? Would you be quick these days to put a poultice of fried onions around your neck or drink a big glass of ammoniaand whiskey for snakebite? Good heavens!!!!
Way back in the nineteen hundreds, I visited Cripple Creek, CO, with my family. The town sure has changed in the last thirty years. The place I visited on that long-ago family vacation was a ghost town with only a few hundred people and one or two restaurants catering to the lost traveler. In 1991, gambling was legalized. The historic buildings are now home to casinos and a revived tourist trade.
I wasn’t there *quite* this long ago!
At 9,494 feet above sea level, Cripple Creek wasn’t much more than a place to graze cattle until 1890. That’s when Robert Miller ‘Bob’ Womach kicked off the last great Colorado gold rush. In less than three years, the town doubled in size form 5,000 to 10,000. Poor Bob died penniless, but he sprouted a town.
Most of those early buildings were hastily-constructed wood structures. Which worked out great until 1896 when a fire destroyed half the town. Four days later, another fire destroyed the other half. Following the devastating fires, all the new buildings along the center of town were made out of brick–by order of the mayor. When you walk along Bennett Street, you’ll note that almost every building was constructed in 1896.
Check out the historic mining building perched on the edge of the hill.
They are building a new mountain on the mountain.
The Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company still conducts business near town. A form of extraction where large scale open pit mining exists now. The ground is dug up and pulverized into an enormous pile, and cyanide is used to leach the extraction of near-surface ore material. You can take tours of both the old and new mining operations. Miles of tunnels are dug into the mountain. The entrances are blocked and grated, and are currently serving as a home to bats.
I took these pictures form the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. It’s a great ride on a real-live stinky steam train. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, I highly recommend the gorgeous drive up the mountain and a visit to the beautiful town. Don’t forget to grab a bite at The Creek Bar & Restaurant. The burgers are wonderful. And stop by The Old Homestead Museum. A former parlor house filled with incredible antiques.
Have you ever visited a ghost town? Or a former ghost town?!
I’ll give away one copy of The Cattleman Meets His Match to one person who leaves a comment!
GALAHAD IN A STETSON
Cowboy John Elder needs a replacement crew of cattle hands to drive his longhorns to Kansas—he just never figured they’d be wearing petticoats. Traveling with Moira O’Mara and the orphan girls in her care is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Yet despite Moira’s declaration of independence, the feisty beauty evokes John’s every masculine instinct to protect, defend…marry?
Moira is grateful for John’s help when he rescues her—and she can’t deny that his calm, in-control manner proves comforting. But she is determined not to let anything get in the way of her plans to search for her long-lost brother at journey’s end. However, can John show her a new future—one perfect for them to share?
Half the fun of writing is the research. I love going to the places where the book is set even though the years have usually wiped away the footprints of the buildings and people who once lived there. But there are always the legends…
The Warriors of the Wind series began from an Arizona Highways magazine article that Jill Landis sent me years and years ago. Little did she know what that article would become. Little did I know-ha! The article talked about a cave where the Apache believed that the Wind Spirit lived and this drawing is the artist’s concept of what the spirit must have looked like. I was fascinated and the ideas started coming. Research backed up the Apache belief in the Mountain Spirits, one of which is Wind. And that’s how a story, or in this case, a series, was born.
In The Healer, Logan, who is half Apache, has the power of the wind, but refuses to let himself accept it because he is a Boston-educated doctor, a man of science. To admit that he believes in the supernatural let alone that he possesses a supernatural power is unthinkable. When Sadie, the woman he hired to tutor his wild little sister, uses a ‘mind trick’ to relieve a patient’s head pain, Logan insists she demonstrate her technique on him. The ‘trick’ goes awry, leaving Logan with an insatiable desire to make love to Sadie and a whole bunch of suspicions.
I have never written a book with such strong personal conflicts. I admit that I times I thought I’d backed myself into a corner and then remembered that I too have supernatural power — it’s called the power of the pen!
I sincerely hope you enjoy the book and that the history comes alive for you as it did for me.
Blurb for The Healer, book 3 in the Warriors of the Wind series:
Doctor Logan Kincade is every Bostonian’s guest of choice—not because of his rugged good looks, his wit or his renown as a surgeon, but because his blood isn’t blue like theirs. It’s red. Apache Red. But the social darling fast becomes a pariah when his modern techniques are rejected by the medical community.
Meanwhile, a plea from his brother summons him home to the Arizona Territory; his sister is coming of age, and he must keep a vow he made long ago to bring the White man’s medicine to his people. But like Boston, home offers no hope for Logan: neither the White man nor the Apache will accept him or his medicine.
After Sadie Davenport’s supernatural healing power is discovered by her greedy aunt and uncle, she faces two options—allow them to exploit her ability for profit, or run away. So, when she sees an ad from a local doctor calling for a sturdy teacher to accompany him to the Arizona Territory, she jumps at the chance. Her one problem? Logan sets her heart on fire upon first sight, but because of her homely disguise he’s unaware of the devastating beauty he just hired.
When their journey becomes embroiled in the clashing world of the Apaches and White man, Logan and Sadie must unite in order to survive. They quickly learn that despite their surface differences, their hearts beat with shared heat and longings—and both conceal intimate secrets. Mysteries that only fuel their increasing desire for one another. As those secrets start to unravel, they realize the truth can either save their lives or destroy their future…
“It will draw you in and not let go.” – Karen Kay, author of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH: BLACKFOOT WARRIORS
“Well-researched and beautifully rendered, THE HEALER is a timeless adventure and a touching love story.” – Kathleen Eagle, author of SUNRISE SONG
A California native, Chelley Kitzmiller lives and breathes the Wild West. She travels the West doing research, decorates her home with everything from a cowhide ottoman to a window valance made of mismatched spurs and frames her own Western photography. She’s known and loved a host of Western movie stars such as Jack Palance, Harry Carey Jr., Ronda Fleming and others. She says, “I’ve had quite a ride and the saddle ain’t even broke in yet.”
As a teen, she hated history. The teacher was only interested in students memorizing names and dates; nothing about what motivated the people to do the things they did.
Her favorite historical romance is Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. When she read it, she didn’t know that the historical detail was factual and only later discovered the truth and realized that she’d gotten a painless dose of history. SSL was her life-changing experience; it made her want to pen her own historical romance and give to others what Rosemary had given her: history wrapped in an emotional action-packed story.
In her pre-published years, Chelley founded the Orange County RWA Chapter, finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, organized the Amtrak Love Train (Google the film documentary Where The Heart Roams), organized writers’ conferences, wrote book reviews for Publishers Weekly and had her own book review columns in two major newspapers.
After publishing four books with NAL and Harlequin, Chelley took a long break to help in her husband’s business, open two bookstores, work as an editorial assistant on nine books for Fern Michaels and one for Lauraine Snelling, learn photography and start a pet rescue. Through it all she wrote and still writes magazine and newspaper articles and grants for the pet rescue.
These days she splits her time between writing, RVing and rescuing pets. Interact with Chelley on Facebook at:
I’m giving away a copy of Heartbreak Ranch, an anthology by Harlequin. And my agent/publisher, The Knight Agency will add a $15 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment along with your contact information to be entered in my drawing!
Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Mary Connealy – STUCK TOGETHER
Broken Wheel, Texas
December 31st, 1868
Tina Cahill finished hammering a hefty board across the front of Duffy’s Tavern. Carefully printed on the board were the words ‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here’.
It sent a message at the same time it nailed Duffy’s door shut.
Tina’s plan was to get his notice.
“That tears it!” Duffy roared from inside the saloon.
She stepped well out of the way expecting only one reaction from the galoot, and she got it.
With one hard shove, he swung the batwing doors open and knocked down her sign, which clattered across the wooden sidewalk. Tina was encouraged when it stayed in one piece—her construction skills were definitely improving and that was good because she meant to be at her mission for a long time and she’d need that sign again later.
Duffy Schuster glared at her.
Wagging her finger under his nose, she said, “Close this den of iniquity, Duffy Schuster.”
To make her point more fully, she looked behind her for her placard—she had this in addition to her sign so she could nail shut the tavern door with one and march back and forth carrying the other. Her placard said ‘Whiskey—The Poison Scourge’ on one side and ‘LIQUOR–A Thief in Your Mouth that Steals Your Brain’ on the other.
She spied the sign on its long, sturdy pole, leaning against the saloon and picked it up, intending to wave it in Duffy’s face.
“I am sick of you—” Duffy hot breath blasted her neck.
Startled to feel him so close, she whirled around. It was a complete accident that her placard slammed Duffy right in the head.
Duffy staggered backward through the swinging doors of the saloon, howling in pain. An unfortunately located spittoon tripped him and he fell, pin-wheeling his arms.
He backhanded his brother, Griss.
Griss, the worse for drink, bellowed a word that made Tina want to cover her ears. Her hands were busy with the sign though, so she had to listen to every bit of the foul diatribe.
Tina peeked over the top of the slapping doors. “I’m sorry, gentlemen.”
She wasn’t really. Well, she was. She hadn’t intentionally clubbed Duffy in the head. And it was just the worst sort of luck—for Duffy—that her placard was on a very stout stick. And it wasn’t her fault about the stick either. Why, just last week, Griss had snapped the handle of her sign right in half. So of course she’d chosen a thicker length of wood this time.
But if ever a man needed a few feet of lumber taken to his head it was Duffy Schuster…and his brother right along with him. So in that sense she wasn’t all that sorry.
Griss threw a punch at Duffy who tumbled out of the saloon and landed with a thud on his back, saloon doors flapping. Tina jumped away or he’d’ve landed right on her stylish, black half-boots.
“Get back, Tina!” Jonas, her brother—who was turning out to be a scold—shouted from behind her. “I told you to stay away from that saloon today of all days!”
Duffy regained his feet and met his angry brother with a wild roundhouse. Griss ducked and charged, head first, ramming Duffy in his sizeable belly.
The two grappled, shouting absolutely improper words that made Tina want to whack Duffy again and Griss too, while covering her ears.
A woman in this situation definitely needed extra hands.
The two men staggered right toward her.
“Tina! Look out!” Jonas’s feet pounded faster on the boardwalk. He grabbed her around the waist and whirled her away from the mayhem. Her sign swung, too. She felt it smack someone and hoped it wasn’t Jonas.
Tina twisted in Jonas’s arms to see her placard had redirected Griss’s next punch intended for Duffy, so it hammered Jonas in the back of the head.
Jonas, the peacemaker, the town parson, her loving brother, shoved her to safety, and turned back. “Now, you two settle—”
Jonas took the next fist right in the face.
Tina tried to catch him and went down under him in a whirl of her pink calico skirts
Howdy all y’all…in the spirit of giving, I think EVERYBODY who commented yesterday should cuddle up with my Covenant if you so wish a copy. Yesterday’s commenters, please email me at tanya DOT hanson AT gmail DOT com with your particulars if you’d like a Kindle copy of my holiday short story. Thanks for your ghostly posts!