The print copies of Make Believe Beau go to…….
Yippee, ladies! I’m sure you’re thrilled. Miss Keli will contact you so watch your email.
Keli Gwyn here to whisk you back in time. Imagine this. It’s 1866. You own a hydraulic mining operation in California. It’s the middle of the summer. There’s been no rain since May. Rivers are running low. Streams and creeks are drying up. But you need water to operate your mine. What do you do? Read on to find out how two bright men of yesteryear, who lived where I do now, came up with a solution.
The easy-to-find placer (surface) gold had been mined in the early years of the Gold Rush, forcing miners to use different methods. In 1853, hydraulic mining came into play. Water cannons with streams of water shooting up to 500 could blast away entire hillsides. The gold-rich quartz veins were revealed, the ore crushed and the precious metal extracted.
Mine owners were happy…provided they had water. In order to get that precious commodity, ditches (canals) were built to divert water from the sources to the mines. The ditches might be able to supply enough water for smaller operations, but the big hydraulic mines needed more than that. John Kirk, an engineer from Pennsylvania, had anticipated this need. A forward thinker, he bought the water rights to many Sierra lakes high above the Gold Country. He and his partner, surveyor Francis A. Bishop, envisioned a canal that would bring water from the mountains to the foothills below. Although their plan for the canal was well thought-out, they’d completed less than one mile when they ran out of funds in 1871.
Kirk and Bishop sold their water rights and property to the newly formed El Dorado Water and Deep Gravel Mining Company for $60,000. Incorporated in 1873, the Company assumed control of the project, following the plans laid by Kirk and Bishop.
The building of the El Dorado Canal was one of the most ambitious undertakings in the state of California up to that time. When it was completed, just in time for the U.S. Centennial celebration in July 1876, the canal was about thirty miles long. Four miles of that was wooden flumes resting on elevated rock walls.
The monumental task required a massive workforce. Over one thousand Chinese laborers came up from San Francisco, assisted by about a hundred Euro-Americans, mostly Italian. The canal cost the Company between $650,000 and $700,000, or about $25,000 per mile.
When I learned about the construction of the El Dorado Canal, I was impressed. Every time I turn on the tap to fill my glass with water, I’m benefitting from the work done one hundred forty years ago by engineers who had nothing more than slide rules and workmen wielding hammers, saws, shovels and pickaxes. Although the canal has been renovated and upgraded numerous times, the path the water travels today is much the same as it was then.
I was so impressed by the men who designed and built the El Dorado Canal that I decided to honor them in my August 2016 release, Make-Believe Beau. The hero and heroine of my latest book, Flynt and Jessie, work for the El Dorado Water and Deep Gravel Mining Company. I took fictional license in staffing the engineering department. Flynt is the engineer. Jessie is his newly hired draftswoman, which creates a stir in the office. While the story focuses on their romance—both the feigned one and the real one—I worked in as much of the history of the El Dorado Canal as I could. I’m sneaky that way. 🙂
Question for You:
Drinking water today has become far more sophisticated than it used to be. Here in the U.S., many people prefer bottled water to tap water. There are flavored waters, carbonated waters, energy waters and more. We can also add ice if we like. I’m a tap water gal myself, since we get clean, clear water from the Sierras delivered right to our home, and I add plenty of ice.
When it comes to drinking water, what is your favorite kind?
I’m so excited about Flynt and Jessie’s story that I’m offering not one, but two print copies as giveaway prizes. Leave a comment, and be sure to leave your contact info in case you win!
I love good dialogue, especially when it delivers the unexpected or makes me laugh. Dialogue sparkles when it reveals insight into the character, adds conflict, or moves the plot forward. I also like dialogue that adds sexual tension—hee haw! Here are a few of my favorite western movie quotes.
Josey Wales: When I get to liking someone, they ain’t around long.
Lone Watie: I notice when you get to disliking someone they ain’t around for long neither.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Wobbles: You can trust me, Frank.
Frank: Trust ya? How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders, a man who can’t even trust his own pants?
Rooster Cogburn: Damn that Texan, when you need him he’s dead.
The Magnificent Seven
Chico: Ah, that was the greatest shot I’ve ever seen.
Britt: The worst! I was aiming at the horse.
Wyatt Earp: You gonna do something or just stand there and bleed?
The kid: Well, I guess they had it comin’.
Munny: We all got it comin’, kid.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Man with no name: See, in this world, there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.
Preacher (played by Clint Eastwood): Well, if you’re waitin’ for a woman to make up her mind, you may have a long wait.
Support Your Local Sheriff
Jake: You want me to tell Joe Danby that he’s under arrest for murder? What’re you gonna do after he kills me?
Jason: Then I’ll arrest him for both murders.
Martin: I hope you die!
Ethan: That’ll be the day.
Taggart: Yes, sir.
Lamarr: I’ve decided to launch an attack that will reduce Rock Ridge to ashes.
Taggart: What do you want me to do, sir?
Lamarr: I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the West. Take this down: I want rustlers, cut-throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nit-wits, half-wits, dim-wits, vipers, snipers, con-men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bush-whackers, horn-swagglers, horse-thieves, bull-dykes, train-robbers, bank-robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, and Methodists!
Taggart: Could you repeat that, sir?
Rhett Butler (who else?) You should be kissed — and often — and by someone who knows how.
And finally, here’s one from my soon-to-be-released book Left at the Altar
Josie (when the groom fails to show up for the wedding) You don’t suppose something might have happened to Tommy, do you? An accident?
Meg (the bride) It better have!
Do you have a favorite book or movie quote to share? If not, which of the movie quotes above did you like best?
Where tempers burn hot
Love runs deep
And a single marriage can unite a feuding town
…or tear it apart for good.
Yes, we have a winner for RED HAWK’S WOMAN and that winner is:
My congratulations go to Karen and my hearty thanks to all of you who came to the blog and who left a comment. I enjoyed reading them all.
Karen, please contact me personally at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net. Since this is a physical book I’ll need a physical address. I so enjoy hearing from you all and I invite you all to another of my blogs in 2 weeks time. Till then, as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans used to say (or sing), Happy Trails.
She’s going to tell us about a historic canal system that brings necessary water down from California’s high Sierras. They still use it today!
She also has a brand spanking new book to present.
With two print copies to give away!
Hitch up your wagon and join us!
Hey everyone and happy Wednesday! When I got back from the Romance Writers of America National conference one week ago today, I was greeted by a house with no electricity or water, and a slightly stressed out husband. He also had to replace the refrigerator while I was gone. I was kind of getting afraid to answer the phone while I was in San Diego.
I had a book due shortly after returning home, but with no electricity, finishing it proved to be a problem. Fortunately, I had a neighbor whose power sources were still running, so I’d meet him at the end of my driveway on his way home from work, hand off my laptop, he would take it home and charge it and then we’d meet at the end of the driveway when he headed back to work the next morning. I was so glad to have a fifteen hour battery.
Life off the grid can be a challenge, but my power source is up and running again, and I’m writing away. To celebrate, I’m posting an excerpt from my September Harlequin Western Romance (formerly Harlequin American Romance), The Bull Rider’s Homecoming.
My bull rider hero is babysitting the heroine’s twin daughters during an emergency. He’s never been around kids and is learning the ropes as he goes. I hope you enjoy.
Well, he certainly couldn’t leave the macaroni cooking and go home. “What do you guys…girls…usually do while waiting for supper to cook?”
“We do our schoolwork.”
“Or watch TV.”
“Or play on the computer.”
Or play dolls.”
Katie’s face brightened. “Yeah. You can be the boy dolls!”
But Kristen was already on her way out of the room, Katie close behind her. A moment later they came back carrying a box of dolls and small clothing.
Trace pushed the hair back from his forehead. This was foreign territory.
Katie set three fashion dolls in various states of dress on the table then looked up at Trace. “Who do you want to be?”
“Uh…where’s that guy doll you were talking about?”
Kristen dug into the bin and pulled out two identical boy dolls—one wearing striped pajamas and the other wearing jeans and a white shirt with an aluminum foil buckle on his small belt. “This is Tyler and this is Jess. They’re twins. Like us.”
Trace knew Tyler and Jess Hayward, the bull-riding twins. He wondered if they knew they had tiny doppelgangers.
“We don’t have many boy clothes,” Katie said.
“And they don’t fit in the girl jeans, so Tyler has to wear his pajamas.”
“Or his beach shorts.” Katie pulled out a pair of flowered swim trunks.
Trace picked up Tyler. “So, what’s my job?”
“We have to get the horses and then we play rodeo.”
Not what he’d been expecting.
“Uncle Grady got us a bull, too, so Tyler and Jess can ride the bull.”
“In his pajamas?” Trace asked.
“Well, he has to wear something,” Katie remarked in a grown-up tone as she headed out of the room. She reappeared a few minutes later with a crate of horses and sure enough, there was a Brahma bull in with the plastic model horses.
“I’ll get the cans,” Kristen said.
“For barrel racing,” Katie said as if he was slow on the uptake.
And so Trace got down on the floor and played rodeo with the girls. Tyler did very well riding the bull, but Jess got tossed off and landed in the sink of soapy water with a big splash, much to the girls’ delight.
“Mom never lets us do that.”
“Mom…” He almost said “doesn’t need to know” before he realized that was not a very wise thing to say to two impressionable seven-year-olds. “Mom knows best,” he amended.
He got to his feet and fished Jess out of the sink and left him to dry on the drain rack before sitting back down again. Out of curiosity, he asked, “Do you guys ever play anything but rodeo?”
“Sometimes we play school and sometimes we play going-on-a-date, but mostly we play rodeo.”
“You can go on a date to a rodeo,” Kristen announced. “That’s where Uncle Grady and Lex went on their first date.”
“We went, too!” Katie added.
“That must have been some first date.”
“It was,” Kristen said, suddenly solemn. “Lex got scared and sad because her dad died at a rodeo, but Uncle Grady helped her get not afraid.”
“And now they’re getting married,” Katie interjected.
“We’re flower girls!”
The Bull Rider’s Homecoming is available for pre-order from Amazon. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks, all, for stopping by to visit about why we love western historical romance. Lots of great input–including those cowboys! Ahhh!
I tossed all your names in a hat and pulled out…..
Congratulations, Elaine! I’ll be emailing you shortly.
Thanks again, everyone!
And welcome to another Tuesday post, and another free give-away. Today I’ll be giving away a free Mass Market copy of RED HAWK’S WOMAN. Please do have a look at the Give Away Guidelines on the front page of our post. The rules are simple, but one rule I should stress is that unlike some other sites, in order to claim your prize, you have to come back to the site either tomorrow or in a few days to see if you are the winner. We don’t normally contact you. Okay? So please check back late tomorrow evening or the next day.
That said, my next book (which I’m in the process of writing) is about a scout in the Lakota tribe. The Lakota were the first tribe of people that I wrote about, and I’m particularly fond of these people. And so since my nose is in history and language books of these people at present, I thought I’d post about one of the most famous of all the Lakota Indians, Sitting Bull.
When I grew up, Sitting Bull was known by every child in school. And although most of us didn’t know much about him, he was often spoken of as being a great warrior.
Sitting Bull wasn’t technically a warrior. Although he had skills as a hunter and a warrior, he was a holy man of the tribe — a medicine man. He was born around 1830 or 1831 on the Grand River in South Dakota. He was a Hunkpapa Sioux (or Lakota). The Sioux (Lakota) tribe has different bands that make up the tribe. A band is typically several different families, many of whom are related.
As a child, he had a nickname of “Slow.” His father, Returns Again was an esteemed warrior and so Sitting Bull seemed destined to be the same, except that as a child he showed little skills as a warrior, thus his name, “Slow.”
Interestingly, he received the name Sitting Bull (I have read several different accounts on how he received his name — but this is an unusual one) because of a fight that he had with another young Indian boy who was from a rival tribe, I believe. In the fight, he killed the other Indian boy (so the story goes), but was, himself, injured and he was called from then on Lame Bull or Sitting Bull because of the injury he received, which made him permanently lame.
But he rose above that and became fearless in everything that he did — he was also an excellent rider, an extremely good shot and could endure much fatigue without showing it.. He shot his first buffalo calf when he was 10 and another story goes that because his father was considered rich by Indian standards, the meat from his hunting was often given to the poor. Because Sitting Bull’s tribe hunted to the far north of the country, they had little dealings with the in-coming culture. It wasn’t until 1862, when the Santee Sioux from Minnesota were pushed West, that Sitting Bull’s tribe learned about what life might hold on one of the reservations.
The 1860’s started in a bad way, and more ill-feelings between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government ensued. In 1865, Sitting Bull led a party and attacked Fort Rice in North Dakota. He so distinguished himself that within 3 years, he had become a chief of the Lakota people. It was also in 1868 that the Lakota made peace with the United States government in treaty. But that treaty was quickly broken by the United States government in the 1870’s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills. And thus began the famous Sioux Indian wars of the 1870’s, culminating in the complete destruction of the 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer.
Sitting Bull did not participate in that fight, but having survived the fight, he took his people north into Canada, where they lived for a period of four years. However, his people began to starve due to harsh conditions, and they demanded to go back to their own country. Sitting Bull counseled them to remain where they were and tried to assure them that they could survive in Canada, but most were determined to return, and Sitting Bull led them back to the United States in 1881. (As a note, there were several different families from Sitting Bull’s band that remained in Canada, and their ancestors still live there today.)
He was held prisoner until 1883, and in 1885, he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show after he had become friends with Annie Oakley. Although the pay was good, Sitting Bull could little understand the poverty he came to witness while on the road. He was also routinely booed by the show’s audience, and Sitting Bull is quoted as saying, “[I] would rather die an Indian than live a white man,.” He quit after only one season.
In the end, Sitting Bull came back to the place where he had been born. There, he came to support the famous Ghost Dance. His support of this dance (which determined that the ancestors of the Indians would come back to claim their land), frightened government officials. It was this, really, that spelled the end of his days. He was killed by Indian police, in a staged incident where the police insisted he had been resisting arrest. It was a tragic end, only because this man gave so much of himself for his people.
But there is something to be learned from the life of this very famous man. It has been said, and I forget by who, that those who do not know history (real history, not that which is generally taught in school) are destined to repeat it. And so to this end, I would like to cut and paste a piece written by an unknown Lakota upon the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull.
By: ~Anonymous Lakota
|Sitting Bull autograph dated on card’s reverse June 12th 1889.|
On July 28—that’s only three days from now—A Kiss to Remember will release. It’s an anthology of five books by authors we know and (hopefully) love to read.
Her Sanctuary by Tracy Garrett
Beautiful Maggie Flanaghan’s heart is broken when her father dies suddenly and the westward-bound wagon train moves on without her, leaving her stranded in River’s Bend. But Reverend Kristoph Oltmann discovers the tender beginnings of love as he comforts Maggie, only to find she harbors a secret that could make their relationship impossible
Gabriel’s Law by Cheryl Pierson
Brandon Gabriel is hired by the citizens of Spring Branch to hunt down the notorious Clayton Gang, never suspecting a double-cross. When Allison Taylor rides into town for supplies, she doesn’t expect to be sickened by the sight of a man being beaten to death by a mob—a man she recognizes from her past. Spring Branch’s upstanding citizens gather round to see a murder, but everything changes with the click of a gun—and Gabriel’s Law.
Outlaw Heart, by Tanya Hanson
Making a new start has never been harder! Bronx Sanderson is determined to leave his old outlaw ways behind and become a decent man. Lila Brewster is certain that her destiny lies in keeping her late husband’s dream alive: a mission house for the down-and-out of Leadville, Colorado. But dreams change when love flares between an angel and a man with an Outlaw Heart.
The Dumont Way by Kathleen Rice Adams
The biggest ranch in Texas will give her all to save her children…but only the right woman’s love can save a man’s tortured soul. This trilogy of stories about the Dumont family contains The Trouble with Honey, a new, never-before-published novella. Nothing will stop this powerful family from doing things The Dumont Way.
Yesterday’s Flame by Livia J. Washburn
When smoke jumper Annabel Lowell’s duties propel her from San Francisco in 2000 back to 1906, she faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. But she also finds the passion of a lifetime in fellow fireman Cole Brady. Now she must choose between a future of certain danger and a present of certain love—no matter how short-lived it may be. “A timeless and haunting tale of love.” ~ The Literary Times
I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology with such amazing talents. So thrilled, I’m giving away one electronic (mobi) copy! All you have to do to enter is tell me why you love western historical romance in a comment (include your email address) and I’ll pick a winner tomorrow (July 26).