Guest Susan Page Davis: East Vs. West

Susan Page DavisBeing an Eastern girl, when I married a westerner and moved to Oregon, I noticed a lot of things were different in the West.

For instance, things are a lot farther apart in the West.

It’s true—towns, trees, everything is more spread out in the West than in the East, particularly in contrast to New England, where I grew up.

A corollary to this is: People are willing to travel farther. It seemed to me that folks in Oregon were willing to drive a hundred miles at the drop of a hat.

Another thing: When I moved to Oregon, I thought nothing there was more than 200 years old, but then I discovered that the West has ancient things, too. Older than the Viking runes in Maine.

I won’t even start on the snakes.

But the reptiles in general—well, they’re different. Once in Idaho, my kids started squealing and laughing and hopping around when they saw a little lizard. A native Idahoan expressed surprise at their antics.

Outlaw Takes a Bride“We don’t have lizards where we come from, and they’ve never seen one before,” I explained.
“Where are you from?” she asked.
I said, “Maine.”
The woman blinked. “You mean Main Street?”
I said, “No, the state of Maine.”
She said. “I don’t know where that is.”
I said. “Oh. Don’t they teach you that in school?” I mean, really. WE knew where Idaho was.

I’m sure most people west of the Mississippi know about the East. This was probably a rare specimen I was talking to. Anyway, things are different on the two sides of the country. Trust me.

Okay, I’ll say one thing about snakes. In Maine, we didn’t have poison ones. And that’s all I’m saying about that.

My newest book is a western, and I hope you enjoy it. In The Outlaw Takes a Bride, Johnny Paynter flees Denver to escape being hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. At his brother Mark’s ranch in Texas, where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother dead. Johnny strongly resembles his brother, and the people in town think he is Mark. Reluctantly at first, Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. But what will he do when he learns Mark has been corresponding with a widow in St. Louis? Sally Golding is en route to be a mail-order bride to Mark. Johnny must decide whether or not to go through with the wedding, posing as his brother. How will a marriage survive amid this deception?

I’m giving away a print copy of this book, The Outlaw Takes a Bride.

Click on the book cover to order from Amazon!

Susan Page DavisSusan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels and novellas. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She lives in western Kentucky. Visit her website at:


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46 thoughts on “Guest Susan Page Davis: East Vs. West”

  1. Hi Susan!

    I loved the blurb. MOB’s and mistaken identity. Can’t wait to read it. (Would be even better to win the paperback.)

    As for snakes and distance and people. 15 years ago, my husband and I moved from RI to SE Florida. We didn’t have poisonous snakes in RI either.Some people here think RI is part of NY. Back home people used to tease about the need for a bag lunch if you were traveling for more than a half hour. (It only takes about an hour to get from one end of RI to the other.) Florida is a big, long state.

  2. Hi Susan! I moved from California to Indiana and let me tell you, that was a culture shock. They also have a different way of saying things back here as well. The first time I heard, “We’re having a Carry-in” I was dumbfounded. Then they explained what it was and I said, “Oh, a Pot Luck”. They also do not know the difference in using the word “see”, “seen” and “saw”. At first I thought it was just because someone didn’t have a lot of schooling…nope! Even some professionals use the wrong tense. It drives me crazy!

    I would love to win a copy of your book! Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countryear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Oh, Cindy! I could write a book on all the “odd” things people say here. (Odd to people from away, that is.) I remember when I went to North Carolina to teach school, and everyone was saying, “I might could do such and such,” or “I need to get with him.” It’s another thing I probably shouldn’t get started on …

  3. Hi Susan! I moved from California to Indiana and let me tell you, that was a culture shock. They also have a different way of saying things back here as well. The first time I heard, “We’re having a Carry-in” I was dumbfounded. Then they explained what it was and I said, “Oh, a Pot Luck”. They also do not know the difference in using the word “see”, “seen” and “saw”. At first I thought it was just because someone didn’t have a lot of schooling…nope! Even some professionals use the wrong tense. It drives me crazy!

    I would love to win a copy of your book! Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. I apologize for the double posting. I noticed I left out the “b” in my email address and tried to catch it before it transmitted and ended up posting again.

    I hang my head in shame.

    Cindy W.

  5. It is always fun to hear about the cultural differences between states. Thank you for sharing. And your book sounds like a lot of fun, too! 😀

  6. I remember how different everything was when I was a little girl and our family moved from New York to Texas. It was like another world.

    • I felt the same way, Janine. I think it’s less extreme since the advent of television and the Internet, but there certainly are still regional differences, some of them vast.

  7. I love reading and writing about the different terms and phrases used in different areas. One of my favorites from the South is “Fixing to,” meaning, “getting ready to,” as in, “We’re fixin’ to go to Waffle House. Y’all comin?”

    Another one is the word “mash” meaning to “push” or “press.” “Y’all just mash that button there when ya wanna change the channel.”

    In Australia, one of my favorites was “give it a go,” along with “fair enough” “Go suss it out” (check it out) and “yep-yep-yep.”

    In Alaska I found it interesting how snowmobiles are called “snow machines” and something expensive is called “spendy.”

    On the beautiful island of Yap, Micronesia, the word “local” is used in ubiquitous fashion to describe anything having to do with traditional island ways, compared to more modern, civilized ways brought from outside. a “local kitchen” is a kind of barbecue grill they use. One man showed me the delicacy of part-ripened coconut meat, which you can scoop out with a spoon and eat. “Our local jello,” he said proudly.

  8. Hey, Jim, thanks for coming by! (He’s my well-traveled son.) The book we’re doing together was a real challenge–figuring out what Australian sayings would have been used in 1854! Great to see you here.

  9. I do like mail order bride stories. I like the added deception as Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. I ‘m eager to read how and when he tells Sally the truth.

    When we moved from Wisconsin to SE Florida many of my children’s school friends wanted to know how many cows we owned and how we made cheese. Several had absolutely no idea where Wisconsin was located.

    “En so” is said at the beginning meaning “and then”

    end sentences with “Eh” (Isn’t that right). Sounds like a long a sound

    Another saying is Don’tcha Know? Don’t you know

    The further north you go you get more long drawn out o sounds, d’s replace the th sound, and north gets shortened to nort

    ex-I’m going to take my boooooat up nort der eh.

    Poisonous Snakes -Florida has their fair share with coral snakes and water moccasins…

    Florida also has alligators, salt water crocodiles, bears, panthers and pythons.

    Florida-isms vary- so many people are from out of state
    I hear Sweetie and Y’all a lot. Lots of people drink sweet tea.

    • Oh, Laurie, you spurred lots of memories! I think “don’tcha know” is in the same category as “Do tell!” I used to hear those in New England, especially from older folks. And here in Kentucky it’s the “I” sound they skimp on. “Ah know.” And they don’t put the “yuh” sound on y words or long-i words: high school is “ha school,” and when my friend said something about the Hyatt hotel, I thought she said “the hut.” Florida sounds downright scary. I have only been there once, and there was a shark scare going on at the beaches. I think they have way too many predators there!

  10. I was amazed by the differences myself when I moved West years ago… so different from what I had grown up around… worry about snakes & scorpions… seeing people walking around in pajamas and slippers… lol…

  11. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Susan! It sounds like you do get around! Maine to Oregon to Kentucky! I enjoy all the colloquialisms that everyone has in their comments. It reminds me of MY FAIR LADY and how Henry Higgins could tell which part of London Elisa Dolittle was from.

    Your book cover is lovely – really sets a mood. Best wishes for it!

  12. I’ve always lived in PA (except 7 months in MS when my husband was stationed there). My husband lived in Washington state for a while and my niece in Oregon and they both said it was their favorite place. (my husband lived in like 20 different places as a child). We did get to visit out west 2 or 3 times – mostly Arizona but we enjoyed that too.

  13. Hi Susan, I have lived in Kentucky all my life but I don’t like snakes to much either, as long as they stay away from me I am fine.I never realized how wide the state is until you mentioned it. I live in the south central part of the state and we catch all kinds of the bad weather. I guess to a lot of people we do talk funny but people from the northern part of the US talk funny to us. I will have to say I do have a lot of that Kentucky slang myself. Your book sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it.

    • Well, I haven’t had any close encounters with snakes since I’ve been here, and I’m glad to say that I didn’t while living in Oregon either. Now, if you want to talk possums …
      When we moved from Maine to Kentucky, it seemed as though we had traded blizzards for tornadoes. The thing is, when it DOES snow here, no one knows what to do with it. It’s okay. We are picking strawberries from our garden, and in Maine that wouldn’t happen for another month or two.

  14. I was born in the NE corner of northern NY and know where you are coming from. We were a military family and moved from northern Maine, back to NY, to Colorado, to California, to Virginia, to Tennessee. The West is very different. The long stretches of nothing, the different type of forests, crazy weather (although right now everyones’ weather is crazy), and a whole new group of animals make it an exciting adventure exploring every place. One of the things I loved about Colorado was getting 2 feet of snow one week and having it all evaporated and 70 degrees the next. Blizzards and 15 foot snow banks along the roadside in Rocky Mountain National Park in mid-July, been there. Drought, desert, aspen forest, rain forest, acres of cactus, banana slugs and bison, whats not to love.

    The West was a good place for many to start over. In this case it was giving a man who deserved a break to get one. Who knows what Sally’s story is. She may need a fresh start too. I look forward to reading THE OUTLAW TAKES A BRIDE. By the way, they did a nice job on the cover.

  15. Susan you made me laugh about the differences in regions . I’ve lived in California, Georgia, and Texas and boy howdy are there some major differences between these states. I am surprised about the lack of poisonous snakes in Maine. I’ve never lived anywhere without venomous snakes. 🙂 Oh and my son has a pet bearded dragon So we see lizards every day.

    • I’m not sure I’d want to live with a dragon. I do sort of miss the moose from Maine and the elk from Oregon. I remember the first time I saw a herd of pronghorns out there, I asked my husband, “Are those goats?” Okay, they were far away and we were in a moving car. We do have lots of deer here in Kentucky. Thanks, Glenda!

  16. I enjoyed your post, Susan, and am eager to read The Outlaw Takes a Bride! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

  17. This sounds like a good story, can you build on a lie? Good question.

    I grew up in Indiana. Moving east to New Jersey was just like a greener Indiana, but moving west to California. Especially when I got funny looks for saying “dead end” for a street. Okay, okay, no exit.

    • No dead end streets? Oh, my! I recall the first time my mother-in-law came to visit us in Maine, she informed us that my parents lived on “Hidden Drive.” She’d seen the sign to prove it.

  18. Hi Susan. yes it is funny the difference in different. I grew up0 in Texas. We had breakfast, dinner, and supper. Moved to Wyoming and the girls friend laughed at them. They said breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think every area has some strange things they say, but the others are the ones who always sound funny to them. I will say I hate the way I sound when recording my voice. Glad I don’t sound like that to my ears. Ha! Love the cover on your book Susan and would love to win it. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    • Oh, Maxie, I’ve seen huge debates on the lunch/dinner/supper topic on writers’ loops. We in Maine always called the biggest meal of the day dinner. Therefore, Sunday dinner was at noon (well, after church). Most other days, that was lunch. But we said supper too. Supper was always the evening meal (unless it was a bit formal, in which case it was dinner). I heard about lots of dinner parties in the evening–but no supper parties.

  19. Susan, your book sounds fab. I put it on my wishlist to get in kindle. Easier for my eyes and to adjust.

    I smiled thinking where is Maine? I probably would be one to ask of places because I don’t travel but love reading the authors travels and stories here.

    I’d run far and long if I ever saw a snake again. I did once and ran the fastest I ever did at any age lol. Really a joy to meet you.


    • Thanks, Cathie! The GREAT news is, this book is also available in large print and on audio CD! I love my Kindle too, for the reason you gave–I can adjust the size of the font. I can also carry a ton of books with me so easily. No, this isn’t a Kindle commercial. 🙂

  20. Fun post, Susan. I know what you mean about *distance.* We spent some time in Arkansas where if the ground wasn’t paved, something grew on it. No long-distance views around there. It made this California/Colorado girl feel hemmed in! I read The Outlaw Takes a Bride and loved it. Great job.

    • Thanks, Davalynn! Glad you enjoyed it. It took me some getting used to when I moved to Oregon to be able to see for miles. Those really are wide open spaces! Then when we moved back to Maine, I lived in the woods. Couldn’t see much of anything. If we wanted to see a sunset, we had to go out onto another road.

  21. I live in the desert of Arizona and anywhere I travel, the first thing I notice is the abundance of green-green fields, green trees, and green lawns.

    The thing I like about the West is the different cultures that influence our traditional foods here. One can see Native American foods, Mexican foods, and foods typical of the plants grown here. Cactus jelly, anyone? It is yummy.

  22. I had to translate before, for a guy from Georgia, and a girl from eastern Maine. (Eastern Maine is arguably the Maine-est of all parts of Maine–the most quintessentially colloquial part). I won’t tell you what she thought he said, but let’s just say he was very politely asking for something reasonable, and she thought he was being dirty and vile. I had to step in and explain what the innocent man meant. The poor girl was very embarrassed when she learned he was only making a reasonable request that anyone would, but in a Georgia accent.

  23. Thank you for this post. This country is so big, it isn’t surprising that there is sometimes a communication gap.
    This sounds like a great book. I would love to win a copy.

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