Trish Milburn is the author of nearly 40 romance, suspense, paranormal, women's fiction and young adult titles. She's a two-time winner of the Golden Heart Award and the recipient of Romance Writers of America's top award for service, the Emma Merritt Award. She's a big sci-fi geek girl, loves seeing new places, and has been known to cosplay on occasion. She's always loved westerns, so considering her other love is sci-fi it's no wonder her all-time favorite TV show is Firefly, which blends the two genres. Check out her books, links to various social media and sign up for her newsletter at http://www.trishmilburn.com/
If you’ve ever read any of my books, you know I use a lot of common phrases. Some I grew up with, having heard my parents or other relatives say so I tend to use them because they’re as natural as breathing. I think they add a lot of flavor to my stories. I sure hope so anyway.
A lot of these go back a very long way. I hope you have fun learning the origins.
IN TALL COTTON – Means successful. Goes back to 1800s. Crops were good and the farmer flush
CAN’T WIN FOR LOSING – 1960s… bad luck keeps showing up to ruin plans
SLEEP TIGHT – In middle ages and later before bed springs, the mattress sat on a latticework of ropes. To keep the mattress from sagging, the sleeper had to keep tightening the ropes.
TOOTH AND NAIL – Fight like a wild beast – with teeth and nails – 1500s origin
HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD – To describe exactly what’s causing the situation or problem
BY AND LARGE – 16th century nautical term – sailing into the wind—means all things considered
RUNNING AMOK – 18th century, wild or erratic behavior
READ THE RIOT ACT – in 18th century England, the Riot Act was a very real document. It was recited to crowds of 12 people or more then the official ordered them to disperse and go home
DIEHARD – Originated in 1700s, describing condemned men struggling the longest when hung
TURN A BLIND EYE – Dates back to Horatio Nelson who held a telescope to his bad eye and proclaimed he couldn’t see a thing
GETTING OFF SCOT-FREE – Originated in Medieval England when a scot was a word for tax. A person who gets off scot free gets away with things.
BURY THE HATCHET – During peace negotiations in early America, the Puritans and Native Americans would bury all the weapons. Now it means to make peace.
BIG WIGS – In old England, the more influential people had the biggest wigs
ONE FOR THE ROAD – During the middle ages, the condemned were taken to their execution down Oxford Street. The cart would stop and they’d give the person a final drink.
GIVE THE COLD SHOULDER – During medieval times in England, the host would cut off a piece of meat from the shoulder and give to guests he wanted to leave.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR – Originated in late 1800s carnival games that used to be targeted to adults, not children. The prizes were cigars instead of stuffed toys.
WAKING UP ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE SIDE OF THE BED – Throughout history the left was considered evil. To keep guests from getting out on the left side, the bed was pushed against the wall so the sleepers had to both get out on the right side. Today it means to start the day in a bad temper.
GET ONE’S GOAT – Means to irritate someone. In horse racing, placing a goat in with a racehorse calmed it down. Rivals would steal the goat in hopes of upsetting the horse and winning the race.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these. There are tons more and probably 60 percent go back to the middle ages and earlier.
What ones surprised you the most?I think for me it’s Read the Riot Act and Get One’s Goat.
He did it a year ago, January 1st, 2020. A year that will live in infamy.
We have BIG PLANS.
Travel. See the kids. Oh, who knows what all.
And then Covid
And he sat and he sat all that long, long cold year.
Looking at cattle that weren’t his, oh dear.
Okay enough Dr. Seuss.
He’s a Nebraska cattleman and that seems to be more than skin deep.
Like (I suspect) most people, there were parts of his job he loved. And parts he hated. I think if he could have skipped the parts he hated (getting up to check on pregnant cows at 2 am in February when it’s 18 below outside comes to mind) he’d’ve kept at it for much longer.
But you have to take the bad with the good. And the good was something we both loved….let me mention here that I was NEVER along on those 2 am checks. Oh, and 9 pm, sometimes midnight, then the 2 am visit. And often 5 am.
I slept through all of that.
But oh we did love those pretty baby calves.
We mostly had black angus and those shining, furry black babies, so lively, so alert and interested, but shy, are just the prettiest little things.
We’d ride out in our Kubota, no horses for us for a long, long time…check the cows. My Cowboy would risk his life to tag (note the white ear tag on the baby and the red tag on the Mama…cows get tagged in eastern Nebraska and branded in western Nebraska…though this cow on the left had a freeze brand.
It’s what it sound like. Instead of a red hot branding iron, they use liquid nitrogen and our vet knew how to do it, though we didn’t do it to our cows. Sometimes we bought replacement cows though and they’d come branded.
He’d get between the mama and baby. Mama often trying to kill him like he was a wolf attacking her calf, rather than the man who brought her food all year long. We respected her protective instincts at the same time we thought it a sign of a very small brain.
Sometimes the cows we’d buy were already pregnant and we’d get a little color in the herd. And this cow, with the white face, isn’t an angus, she’s a Simmental with what they call a BLAZE. Though that’s not what I’d call it. More like big white blotches. But no one consulted me when they named this type of cow a Simmi-blaze, so we’re stuck with it.
Anyway, I’m sidetracked.
We’ve lived through two springs now without any 2 am baby checks.
And also two springs without calves.
My Cowboy is really good with retirement.
He said the other day that he doesn’t have time to do everything he needs to do everyday.
He snapped that it wasn’t funny.
I quit laughing but inside I was thinking it WAS kinda funny. He was really worried about what he’d do in retirement, because he is NOT a guy who does well sitting around.
Sort of an energizer bunny type.
But he’s doubled the size of our garden. He’s planted six? Seven? Fruit trees. Mows the lawn. Does all the cooking. Cleans the house. Washes the laundry. Oh, yeah, he does EVERYTHING.
And he golfs.
I have to admit, I never saw that coming.
He golfs like…five days a week. He is now one of THOSE GUYS who mutter and complain when it rains because he can’t go golf. Add in, he has never done much golfing, so it’s not like he has this rusty game from his youth he’s trying to resurrect.
Anyway, again, sort of sidetracked.
He missed the great parts of the cows. So do I. Like this pair to the left, also a Simmi-Blaze pair. They reflect each other. The mama’s blaze bends to the right, the baby’s to the left. I just LOVE THIS PICTURE!
But life without cows…is kind of sad. We drive down the road past herds of cows with their babies. And he really notices. He started early this spring saying, “No calves yet in that herd.”
Then we get to the same herd a week later. “Look there is one right against the fence. (note…these are STRANGERS cows).
Now these herds are just teeming with babies and they are so cute. We miss them.
Except at 2 am.
Leave a comment to win a free audio-book version of Braced for Love. Tell me if you do NOT want the audio book. I got a couple of free … codes? Coupons? Whatever, for audio books and I’m allowed to share them.
And tell me what you think you’d miss if you retired. And what you wouldn’t miss. Or if you are retired, what do you miss and not miss.
I know as a writer who has…it’s freaky to say…not minded being locked down all that much!!! There isn’t much I dislike about being an author. I suppose maybe someday I could quit…but I’m not sure. I have this vision of myself….105 years old, slumping dead over my keyboard, halfway through writing a book.
After his father’s death, Kevin Hunt inherits a ranch in Wyoming-the only catch is it also belongs to a half brother he never knew existed. But danger follows Kevin, and he suspects his half brother is behind it. The only one willing to stand between them is Winona Hawkins.
Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he’s inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin’s supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.
But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other’s throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.
Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can’t help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin–and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody’s dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?
Falcon Hunt awakens without a past, or at least not one he can recall. He’s got brothers he can’t remember, and he’s interested in the prettiest woman in the area, Cheyenne. Only trouble is, a few flashes of memory make Falcon wonder if he’s already married. He can’t imagine abandoning a wife. But his pa did just that–twice. When Falcon claims his inheritance in the West, Cheyenne is cut out of the ranch she was raised on, leaving her bitter and angry. And then Falcon kisses her, adding confusion and attraction to the mix.
Soon it’s clear someone is gunning for the Hunt brothers. When one of his brothers is shot, Falcon and Cheyenne set out to find who attacked him. They encounter rustled cattle, traitorous cowhands, a missing woman, and outlaws that take all their savvy to overcome. As love grows between these two independent people, Falcon must piece together his past if they’re to have any chance at a future.
Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner’s limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he’s healed, she’s fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has long determined to never marry.
Molly gets a job as the housekeeper at Oliver Hawkins’s ranch. But really she’s with the Pinkertons, spying to find out if Hawkins has abused women and if he’s guilty of murder.
Wyatt refuses to let her risk it alone, convincing Hawkins that he’s abandoning his own ranch, angered by his two brothers’ coming to claim a big chunk of it.
But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn’t the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them.
Oregon fever had gripped the county for years. Lewis and Clark accounts started it then others fueled the flames with claims of fertile soil and a temperate climate. Books were written and Congressmen and Senators proposed legislation offering free land in Oregon that finally passed in 1850.
But a fly called The Rockies flew into the ointment. The mountain range stood in the way and must be crossed.
The union of commerce and faith helped blaze the trail west. A merchant by the name of Nathaniel Wyeth and Methodist-Episcopal Missionary Jason Lee set out in 1834 for Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Wyeth had made the trip two years prior and guided Lee to his proposed mission. He promised mountain men that he’d bring trade goods to their next rendezvous.
The Wyeth-Lee party was the first group to traverse the entire Oregon Trail as it’s known today, though not all the way by wagon. They left those at For Hall and packed mules, traveling by foot the rest of the way.
A few more brave souls made it the following years, even two white women were among the number.
Two events spurred even more folks to go west. Missionary Marcus Whitman coming east in the winter of 42’-3 to confer with his mission’s board members, and the Senate passing the Linn Act.
The house narrowly defeated the bill, and it wasn’t until 1850 that it finally did pass, but the vote had been so close, folks figured it would pass soon enough. Plus, if Whitman could make the trek in winter, then traveling in spring and summer shouldn’t be any hill for a stepper.
Over 875 pilgrims met then left from Elm Grove a dozen miles out of Independence, Missouri for what became known as the Great Migration of 1843.
Before the western exodus by covered wagons ended—mostly due to the completion of the intercontinental train—over more than half a million people traveled over the Oregon and California Trails to start a new life.
Oxen were favored over mules and horse to pull the wagons for the bovine could survive on poorer quality feed and were better to eat if the need arose. They cost less as well. Teams of seven pair were common, and some train captains required that many.
Early on, no unaccompanied females were allowed. That fact has been fodder for many an Oregon Trail book, mine included.
Being a former goat fancier—my husband Ron got tired of feeding my girls—I used the death of a milk goat to throw Ruth and Logan together in my latest Prairie Roses offering, RUTH, book eight in the multi-author collection.
Hopefully, I showed the extra hardship of caring for two infants on the journey west. Nappies alone had to have been awful, on top of cooking and seeing to the other chores.
Ever hauled water out of a river? The trains paralleled the Platt most of the way but being close to water proved imperative.
A lot of the immigrants couldn’t stand the wagon’s rough ride and ended up walking the entire two thousand miles. A drover walked beside the main ox, keeping him in line and up to speed with voice commands and a stick he used to prod the animal.
His partner in pulling, the off ox knew his place as did the others. Best not even think about putting an animal in the wrong position. If sojourners did have mules or horses pulling their wagon, then someone had to be driving them.
Prairie Schooners were preferred over the more spacious Conestoga because of the sheer weight. Imagine packing everything you’d need to start over in the wilderness in a fourteen-by-four-foot wagon and head out for parts unknown.
Oregon Fever must have been some kind of powerful bug.
GIVEAWAY – Answer the following question to be in the running for the e’copy of REMI, my first Prairie Roses story.
What one luxury item could you not stand to leave behind, and what would you be willing to leave to make room for it?
RUTH released on May 3rd, my 71st birthday! It’s a story of redemption and second chances. I’m so grateful that we serve a God of second chances! Here’s the back-cover copy for it:
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Fleeing heartache, shame, and betrayal, Ruth finds all her plans are thwarted until the untimely death of a goat that gives her hope! Hired as a wet-nurse for Logan’s motherless son, she rejects his marriage-of-convenience proposal, hoping to find true love at the trail’s end. Going West (in what was later called the Great Migration of 1842) satisfies the widower’s wanderlust, and even though she turns him down, he determines to prove his love is true. Come along on this infamous journey of love and adventure.
BIO – Award-winning, Christian author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Of her best-selling novels, readers love her historical Christian romance family sagas most, but she also writes Christian contemporary romance, mysteries, Biblical fiction, and also for young adults and mid-grade booklovers. The large majority of reviewers award her stories five-stars and praise Caryl’s characters, even praying for them at times. The prolific writer loves singing the new songs God gives her almost as much as penning tales—hear a few at YouTube! Married to Ron fifty-three years next month, she shares four children and twenty-one grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in the far corner of Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
Almost all of my western romances revolve around cattle or cattle drives, one way or another. Having grown up in western Nebraska, cattle were everywhere, a common sight along the interstate or highway. Roll down the car window and get a whiff? Ah, we used to say. Smell that money.
But cattle need cowboys. And cowboys need to be fed. On cattle drives, the chuckwagon cook spent his days feeding an outfit of fifteen or twenty hungry men. His wagon became their home away from home, a place to gather in the middle of nowhere. It was here a man could get warm by a fire, swap a tall tale or two, and fill his belly before hitting his bedroll for a short night’s sleep.
He’d wake again to the smell of strong coffee. His meals were three squares of beef, sourdough biscuits and coffee. Maybe a dessert of raisin pudding, a popular standby. Or dried apples.
Cowboys loved sourdough and so did the cook. He started the sourdough before leaving the ranch, mixing flour, salt and warm water in a crock twice as big as the mixture. He added a little sugar or molasses to help it ferment, and voila! Sourdough starter. Cared for right, (warmed in the sun to aid fermentation and replaced what he used with more flour, salt and water) a cook could keep sourdough going for eternity.
Pretty amazing if you think about it. Versatile, too.
Since today is National Apple Pie Day, how about a cowboy’s version of apple pie on the range? I’m happy to share an authentic chuckwagon cook’s recipe for Dried Apple Cakes.
3 cups dried apples, chopped
4 cups water
1 cup sugar
–Dry Baking Mix as follows–
2 cups flour
1 Tb. Sugar
1 Tb. Baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lard or shortening
Sift or mix dry ingredients. Cut in lard or shortening until mixture resembles fine meal.
1 1/2 cups Sourdough Starter (recipe below)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
Cook dried apples in the water until tender. Drain and save the juice.
Measure 2 cups juice, adding water if needed.
Mix 1/4 cup sugar with the above recipe of Dry Baking Mix.
Stir in Sourdough Starter to moisten flour. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Pat or roll to a 12 x 18 inch rectangle.
Sprinkle with apples. Roll, starting at short end. Cut into 12 slices. Put remaining sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and the 2 cups apple liquid into a large deep skillet.
Bring to a boil. Gently lower slices of apple-sprinkled dough into hot syrup.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Makes 12 servings.
1 quart lukewarm water
1 pkg dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
4 cups all-purpose four
Put water in large crock. Add yeast, sugar and flour. Cover with a clean cloth. Let rise until mixture is light and slightly aged, about 2 days. As you use the sourdough, replace it with equal amounts of flour and water.
What is your favorite apple recipe? Have you ever worked with sourdough before?
Tell me if you love (or hate!) apples and you can win an e-book copy of UNTAMED COWBOY, Book 1 of my C Bar C Ranch series.
Carina Lockett is driven to build a legacy for her young daughter, and she doesn’t need a man to help her do it. But when her precious child is lured away and held for ransom, she must swallow her pride and ask for Penn McClure’s help.
Penn McClure has no intention of playing cowboy for any woman, especially one as strong-willed as Carina. But driving a herd of cattle to Dodge City is no easy task. And he has a score to settle with the man waiting for them at the end of the trail.
Along the way, he discovers Carina is pure female–and that her legacy has become his own.
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Waco with my daughter was visiting the Texas Ranger Museum. If you love westerns, this is the place to go. The guns alone were spectacular. I don’t own guns, nor do I like them outside of my stories, but seeing these centuries-old weapons in pristine condition was a researcher’s dream. I especially loved seeing the guns I’ve described in my stories close-up.
Reading the stories of the early Rangers and their amazing bravery and skill made me feel like Matthew Hanger and his Horsemen would’ve felt right at home.
The most interesting tidbit I learned was that most 19th century Rangers did not wear badges. The state did not provide them, so a Ranger would have to purchase his own. Instead, a Ranger carried his credentials in paper form – A Warrant of Authority and Descriptive List. It provided proof of his authority along with a physical description. I couldn’t help but wonder what could have happened if a Ranger’s credentials were stolen. Especially if he were killed and unable to report it. Could make for an interesting plot twist in a book someday.
Scattered throughout the museum were a collection of small bronze statues depicting western scenes and lawmen. I loved these! I snapped pictures of three of my favorites. The first is a Texas Ranger standing proud and ready to do battle. The second made me smile. It’s titled Free Legal Advice and it shows a man on horseback stopping to jaw with a professional man in a buggy. The third is my favorite. Nothing touches my heart more than a tough man holding a baby. In this statue titles Compassion, a man in buckskin cradles an infant. It makes my mind whirl with story possibilities. And reminds me a bit of my upcoming story The Heart’s Charge, where two of my Horsemen find a newborn and have to deliver her on horseback to a foundling home several miles away.
There were more modern displays in the museum as well, starting with Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger who tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in the 1930s, and moving into contemporary times.
Visiting this hall of fame made me think of all the old westerns I would watch growing up. Especially shows like the Rifleman. But it also made me think of the two most famous fictional ranger heroes.
If you had to pick one favorite fictional ranger, which would you choose?
So, I thought we might talk about love today, and, if you will bear with me, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my own very personal story of finding love with my husband, Paul. The year was 1995 — late in the year — and my third book, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN had recently been turned in to AVON/HarperCollins for editing. As I awaited the editing process, my attention went to another story and I had begun work on that. That story is GRAY HAWK’S LADY.
My own tale of finding love again began with a kiss. But let me backtrack. I had in 1992-1993 gone through a divorce and had come back to California, because at that time I had considered California my home, although I wasn’t born there. Unfortunately for me, I jumped right into a relationship that was very bad for…many reasons. After that relationship, I wanted nothing to do with men, love, marriage again. Sigh…and here I was a romance writer.
So I was on my own and definitely enjoying being on my own. One of my best friends (whom I have known and loved since 1970) was pushing me to go on a blind date. I didn’t want to go and told her I wanted nothing to do with men, relationships, marriage, dating…nothing….
But she insisted and I found my self consenting to one date. That was in January of 1996. GRAY HAWK’S LADY was due to my publisher (AVON) in July of 1996, but I had plenty of time to write it and had, indeed, started writing it when I went on this first date.
So off I went on this first ever in my life blind date. (I believe it was Paul’s first blind date, also.) The gentleman (Paul) picked me up at my house and I noticed he was wearing cowboy boots, and, since I am interested in the West and Cowboys and Indians, this was great. He was also born and raised in Montana, and I was very interested in Montana because the story of GRAY HAWK’ S LADY was to take place in Montana.
The date was good, but perhaps a little conservative. I think I was a little stand-offish. (Remember I wanted nothing to do with men, romance, marriage.) We went out to eat, but I was left with the impression that he wasn’t really interested in me. So, I put it behind me. He never called during the week that followed, never asked me back out and never told me what was happening and so eventually, just to end my wondering about it, I called my friend, told her I was sorry it hadn’t worked out and … well, “so long” sort of thing. To my surprise she wouldn’t let it go — I had just wanted to put it behind me. She said, “Oh, no, he’s really interested in you.” and I said, “Oh, no, I don’t think so. Let’s just relegate that date to the past and we’ll just get on with our lives” …or something like that. And she said, “No, I’m sure he really liked you.”
I had no idea that she would call his brother. I am told that they talked, and that the upshot of it was that Paul then called me and asked me for another date. Well, it had been a good first date, I thought, and he was a nice gentleman and perhaps we could be friends. So I accepted.
Goodness! Little did I know what was in store. On the second date, we were both more relaxed, held hands, and I thought, okay, we’ll be friends. He took me home, walked me to the door and just as I was about ready to go inside, he took me in his arms and kissed me. Now, this was quite some kiss. He meant it. And I became very aware he meant it. His hands caressed my cheeks, my eyes, my face, my hair, my neck. It went on and on and on, and when he was done, I felt as though my world were spinning — but in a good way. Afterwards I stared at him and for the first time, thought to myself, “Who is this man who can make me pay attention to him with no more than a kiss?”
Well, that was that. We had a date the next week, and within 2-3 weeks, I had moved in with him and we were married in May 1996. Our first date was February 3rd 1996. So it definitely was a whirlwind romance.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the book, GRAY HAWK’S LADY. Well, a lot, I’m afraid. As I mentioned earlier, I was in the middle of writing that book, and I fell so deeply in love with this man, who is now my husband, that of course that love was written all over the printed pages of GRAY HAWK’S LADY. That first kiss and my emotional reaction to it is recorded in that work. Also, my gradual coming to understand that this man was the most important man in my life is in that book. His calmness, his teasing, his care…it’s all written there as I fell head over heels in love. Interestingly, I’ve recently had the occasion to read the book again, as it will be coming out soon in the 25th Anniversary edition of the book, and I was reminded while reading the book how much I fell in love with this man. As I was reading it, I said to my husband that all the love I felt for him is in that book. Indeed, I think the character of Gray Hawk underwent a change in personality and became more and more the personality of the man I love.
Interestingly, I still have the pictures of our wedding on my website http://www.novels-by-KarenKay.com — can not bring myself to take them down, even though it’s 25 years later. People sometimes write to me and congratulate me on my recent marriage — and I smile. To me, in many ways, it does seem like a recent marriage, as I fall in love with this man all over again every day.
I’ll tell you true that I love this man with all my heart — and as the years have gone by, that love does not diminish; it grows and grows and grows. He stole my heart with that first kiss. (I’ll knock on wood here.) As the — gee, was it the Ronettes who once sang the song, “And Then He Kissed Me,” — it has always seemed to me that it started with that kiss.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog today and I hope you’ll come in and leave a message. I would love to hear about your own personal love stories.
To the left here is the e-book cover of GRAY HAWK’S LADY, but, as I said, it’s going to be coming out fairly soon as a 25th Year Anniversary book so instead of giving this book away, I’ll be giving away a paperback copy of the book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR.
And please remember to check back on Wednesday or Thursday evening to see if you are a winner!