While doing research for my latest novel, Trouble in Store, I realized I needed to learn more about Native American cliff dwellings. As enjoyable as it is to study about historic sites in books and online, it’s even more fun to visit them in person. Fortunately, a number of protected sites are within easy reach here in northern Arizona.
One of those is found at beautiful Walnut Canyon, a short drive east of Flagstaff. This site captured my imagination the first time I saw it at age nine, and over the years I’ve become more fascinated with each visit.
Inhabited by the Sinagua people some 900 years ago, the homes in Walnut Canyon were constructed within the limestone ledges in the canyon walls.
The ruins can be reached by way of a steep trail hugging the cliff walls. And that’s one of the things I love most about Walnut Canyon. Visitors don’t have to experience this glimpse into the past at arm’s length. Instead, they’re able to walk in the steps of those who came before, peer into the soot-stained rooms and touch the walls erected so long ago.
Hiking along the narrow path, I tried to envision myself living there centuries ago and wondering about the challenges a mother would have faced in that setting. Can you imagine what it would be like to keep track of a brood of young children, with no baby gates, no fenced lawn to keep them corralled? Or when your “front yard” was only a few feet wide . . . and one false step would lead straight down to the bottom of the rocky canyon?
I’m glad to be a mother in this century. Parenting has never been a simple task, but I’ll take most modern problems over the ones those ancient moms faced any day!
About 50 miles farther south is Montezuma Castle National Monument, located near Camp Verde.
Like the dwellings in Walnut Canyon, Montezuma Castle isn’t what most of us picture when we think of a Native American encampment. Instead of lodges or tepees clustered in a village, this centuries-old, high-rise apartment is nestled into the side of a towering limestone cliff. Try to imagine the logistics of something as simple as making a daily trek to gather food or get water!
These rooms didn’t boast a lot of closet space, so some of the residents’ food and other supplies were kept in storage caves at the bottom of the cliff wall—sort of a “downstairs pantry” concept.
While staring from the abandoned dwellings above to the caves below, I felt a tingle. Suddenly, I could see a similar cliff dwelling as part of the area surrounding my fictional town of Cedar Ridge. That mental image inspired the background for several pivotal scenes in the book.
That’s one of the things I love most about research—you just never know when some tidbit of information will prove to be the very thing that sparks an idea that breathes life into a scene!
Many thanks to Karen Witemeyer for inviting me to spend time with you today! I’ll be giving away a copy of Trouble in Store, so be sure to leave a comment in order to be included in the drawing.
I’m so glad to stop by here, prop up my red cowboy boots and visit with the fillies about Billion Dollar Cowboy, the debut book in my new series, Cowboys & Brides.
Someone asked me recently how I came to write about four very rich cowboys and that started me thinking about why I came to write about four sassy ladies who lassoed those cowboys.
It all started with the cowboys, Colton (Billion Dollar Cowboy), Lucas (The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby), Greg (The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride) and Mason (How to Marry a Cowboy). They popped into my mind and at first I told them that I couldn’t write about rich cowboys because I didn’t know or understand the ways of the rich folks in this world.
But they insisted and we negotiated the terms. I’d turn the air conditioning down low (look at that sexy cowboy on the front of the book, fillies!) and write their stories but I got to pick the leading ladies and they had to stick around and tell me exactly how the story went.
We shook on it and Colton pulled up a chair around since I was writing about him first.
Four very sassy ladies had been talking to me for a while about writing their stories and I brought them front and center and we had a long conversation. Not a one of them were interested in a rich cowboy, no matter how sexy, smooth talkin’ or good at two-steppin’ they were. But I could see some real possibilities so I introduced Colton to Laura Baker, and oh, my but the sparks flew from day one. Both of them were wary as two old tom cats on the back yard fence. Neither trusted the other as far as they could throw a ton of bricks. And we were off on a real ride tellin’ the story that come out of putting them together.
Laura had grown up on a ranch without much in the way of affection from her great-aunt who had taken Laura and her sister, Janet, in to keep them out of the system. She liked ranching but had no intentions of making it her life’s work and it damn sure wasn’t her dream. However, Janet had an addiction to gambling. She’d gotten in way over her head with the last betting spree and she was back to begging Laura to get her out of trouble. The only way Laura can manage to help her sister is to work for their distant cousin, Andy, at some rich cowboy’s ranch in Ambrose, Texas, wherever to hell that is.
She wasn’t any too happy with me there at the first. She didn’t trust Colton and he couldn’t believe any woman on the face of the great green earth wouldn’t give two hoots if he was rich or not. Things didn’t get much better when poor old Colton found himself drugged after a night in a local honky tonk. It was only by the quick thinking of the ranch foreman that he awoke in his bed the next morning and not with a wedding ring on his finger after those two women had put something in his drink.
Laura is determined not to stay one minute more than it takes to earn the money to keep Janet from being maimed or killed by loan shark. She sure isn’t interested in playing along with the ruse that she was Colton’s girlfriend, especially when it turned into an engagement complete with a diamond half the size of a hockey rink. But since it involved enough money to get Janet out of gambling debt she went along with the crazy idea. And since his grandmother, the ranch foreman and even the sixteen year old foster child, Roxie, has set the wheels in motion with their tricks, there doesn’t seem to be much choice in the matter. Before long, they trusted each other to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night to tell me how to write the next scene.
And that’s when I knew I’d made the right decision in putting Laura on that particular ranch and not Natalie, or Rachel or even Emily who were waiting in the wings to see what would happen when Billion Dollar Cowboy was all finished. After Laura’s experiences I wasn’t sure that they wouldn’t all light a shuck and hide the mesquite trees but when I started The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby, Natalie was right there ready to take on the job.
What do you think it would take to make a cowboy with more than a billion dollars trust a woman? What would it take for a woman to believe a rich cowboy who could have anyone or anything that he wanted?
BILLION DOLLAR COWBOY BY CAROLYN BROWN – IN STORES JUNE 2013
Colton Nelson was 28 when he won the Texas Lottery and went from ranch hand to ranch owner overnight. When people started lining up wanting some of his millions, he hired a friend, Andy Joe, to handle his affairs and find him a bride and buy her, no matter what the cost.
Laura Baker and her sister, Emily, had been raised in foster homes. Though she was the younger of the two, Laura was always bailing Emily out of trouble. So when Andy Joe slid into her booth at a diner one night and made a proposition to Laura, it seemed the perfect solution…until Laura met Colton and realized she didn’t give a damn about his money and that her love was not for sale.
* * * *
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than 60 books published. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. Carolyn’s first women’s fiction novel, The Blue Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee is now available, and you can look for her next cowboy romance, Cowboy Seeks Bride in August 2013! For more information, please visit: www.carolynlbrown.com.
My current release is called Western Duets-Volume One in the novella are two historical western romances. One, the longest, has the subject of shanghaiing. This is a subject that has always intrigued me since watching episodes of Bonanza and the Big Valley that had characters being Shanghaied.
I thought it was only done on the Barbary Coast. Until I started doing my research and discovered the most notorious shanghai city was in my own state.
Portland, Oregon was the longest running and most notorious for shanghaiing than anywhere else on the West Coast.
The unsuspecting farm boy, logger, or out-of-towner who was lured to the dock by the saloons, gambling dens, and bawdy houses could wake up indentured to a ship headed to China (where the name shanghaied came from) or ports around the world.
Crimps were men who owned boarding houses that would give sailors a place to eat and sleep when they ran out of money and were waiting for a job. Some men planned to go back on ships, while others had dreams better paying, less harmful work. While staying at the boarding houses they ran up tabs. The crimp (the Dutch word krimp means a holding tank or pen for live fish), would use this tab against them. When a captain of ship came around he would pay the crimp the man’s tab and extra to put the man on his ship. The man had to work to pay the tab he now owed the captain. Once he worked to pay off what the captain paid for him then he would online pokies draw wages at the lowest pay scale. It would be quite likely, the captain would pay them much less than they were owed. Since many of the men who ended up as sailors had little learning and couldn’t keep track of what they owed or was owed them.
Many captains would find a crimp and pay them for ten men. If the crimp didn”t have ten men in his house, he would go out and either get able-bodied males drunk and passed out or knock them out in alleys and haul them to the ships and dump them.
A crimp could receive a bonus of $30 – $90 for supplying strong men to the ships. This was called “blood money”. In some instances blood money could go as high as $120. When the price was this high the boarding house operators would work together to “gather sailors.”
Shanghaiing had the crimps prowling the streets looking for strangers to knock out and dress up as sailors and dump on ships for money. Many were naive young men who were befriended then drugged. The prostitutes even got in on shanghaiing. They pulled in young, strong men to their “crib” and while “servicing” the man would knock them out with chloroform.
Shanghaiing had lessened in San Francisco by the mid 1890″s but picked up in Portland at that time. There were even international incidents with the governments of France and Great Britain.
Western Duets- Volume One
Western Duets is a novella with two historical western romance short stories.
Tossed together in the underbelly of a ship, strangers Finn Callaghan and Prudence Hawthorne must learn to trust one another in order to escape, but their freedom may be short lived once Finn discovers Prudence”s brother wants her dead.
Last Stand for Love
U.S. Marshal Chas Brown agreed to be Sarah”s proxy husband in order for her to keep her dead husband”s ranch. Little did Chas know, he’d lose his heart in the process.
One lucky commenter will receive an ebook copy of Western Duets.
Award winning author Paty Jager is a member of national and local writing organizations. She not only writes the western lifestyle she lives it. With sixteen novels and several short stories published, she continues to have characters cavorting in her head.
Birthday Bash! Today through June 30th the first book of my spirit trilogy, Spirit of the Mountain, a paranormal historical romance set among the Wallowa band of Nez Perce is available in ebook for $.99. It”s my birthday gift to readers. Enjoy!
Rosie Carson sat in the circle of chairs gathered for the Young People’s Society of the New Testament Church of San Antonio. She loved the Lord and she loved the Bible, even though she found it a little confusing at times. But if she heard more people read the exciting stories with such droning voices, she’d fall asleep.
By the time Rosie caught up with the teacher in the second chapter of Acts, he was droning on about “tongues of fire” resting on the disciples. She screwed her mouth, trying to imagine a tongue made out of fire. Where did it rest on the head? Did it come out of their mouths?
There was a mention of the Holy Ghost . . . Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. She’d like to hear more about that. The teacher continued read as if he was reciting multiplication tables. His voice didn’t convey any of the excitement Rosie felt when she read the accounts of the early Christians.
Some of the witnesses said, “These men are full of new wine.” A picture formed in her mind of church members so excited about the Lord that they were accused of being drunk. She giggled at the image of people with fire sprouting out of their mouths, like circus entertainers, talking in languages half the congregation didn’t understand, staggering about the stage, hollering “praise Jesus!” She laughed out loud.
The leader stared at her, directing the attention of everyone in the group to her unfortunate outburst. “Miss Carson, would you care to tell us what you find so very amusing?
Rosie gulped. Didn’t these people realize how blessed they were, that they had they read the Bible so often that it rolled over them like wagon wheels, running through the same ruts?
“I’d like to hear what Rosie thinks about the day the church was born.” Macy Braum, a pleasant contrast to her stuffed shirt of a brother, gave Rosie the courage to speak.
“It’s the place where it says people were mocking the disciples and all, saying they were drunk. Here God was doing something amazing and wonderful and all they saw was drunks.”
“Yeah, Braxton, maybe we should hold the next service at the saloon down the street.” A young man Rosie didn’t recognize said.
Laughter followed, although Rosie didn’t think it was such a bad idea. Didn’t Jesus eat with publicans and sinners and even ladies of the night? They were the people who knew they needed a Savior, not people who had grown up without ever wondering where their next meal was coming from.
“At least they took a risk in sharing their faith.” A deep voice from the back of the room said.
Turning, Rosie registered his blond good looks while feeling a bone-deep fear of the authority shouting from every inch of his frame.
Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in Oklahoma near her son’s family.
Darlene loves music, needlework, reading, and reality TV. She has published several titles with Barbour Publishing, including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark: Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’s Trail. She’s a member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers.
A while back a group of inspirational authors and readers shared their favorite Native American stories, and so of course I made a list. I had read several of them, but am now collecting all these books. I wanted to share my list with you, because who doesn’t need a wish list? If you have more to add, this is the place, and I’d love to hear about them.
A Whisper of Peace, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother’s dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.
Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal…until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he’s ever seen.But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?
Courting Morrow Little, Laura Franz
Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future.
Several men–ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable–vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones–and garner suspicion from her friends–by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn’t love?
The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Laura Franz
Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father’s former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family’s past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.
Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills. But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself–and the power of grace and redemption.
Through Rushing Water, Catherine Richmond
Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.
Sophia Makinoff is certain 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.
With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.
It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When US policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.
The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, Carla Olson Gade
Eliana has secrets. Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant–disguised as a young man–on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners.
Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the shadow catcher’s daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart.
As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground.
Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?
Valley of Dreams, Lorraine Snelling
Addy Lockwood’s mother died when she was little, so Addy traveled with her father’s Wild West Show and became an amazingly skillful trick rider, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father died, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go.
Now Addy has discovered that “Uncle” Jason, the show’s manager, has driven the show into debt, and he’s absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Addy decides to try to find the hidden valley where here father had dreamed of putting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers raised in a giant hand.
With Chief, a Sioux Indian who’s been with the show for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves both the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.
Dakota Moon Trilogy, Stephanie Grace Whitson
Heart of the Sandhills:
Genevieve LaCroix Dane Two Stars, married for just a little more than a year, is thankful to be with her beloved husband, Daniel Two Stars. Though they are struggling, they have each other and dream of making a happy home in a safe place.
But “happily ever after” is not always easy to live out in real life. Daniel and his friend, Robert Lawrence, now plow the land that used to be theirs in return for only a portion of the crops and the right to live in two small log cabins with their families. Though many respect their hardworking Indian neighbors, others are unable to look past the color of their skins and see their hearts. They only see “murdering savages.” In the wake of the Dakota Sioux uprising, fear and prejudice toward the Indians grow stronger every day.
How long will Genevieve and her family be able to turn the other cheek in the face of hatred and injustice? Is Daniel’s restlessness a sign that God has another work for him beyond the farm? Should they stay in Minnesota or look for a better place out west?
Valley of the Shadow:
Eighteen-year-old Genevieve LaCroix protests when her father tells her it’s time to leave home and get further education at nearby Renville mission. The daughter of Good Song Woman and Etienne LaCroix, she carries in her blood the proud heritage of a Dakota warrior and a French aristocrat. But when Gen arrives at Renville mission, she learns that her heritage is not valued in the changing world created by new white immigrants.
At first the lessons learned at the mission are difficult and lonely. But soon Gen finds new friends and begins to understand this strange culture she has become immersed in. When the missionary family takes in Two Stars, an injured young Dakota warrior, Gen begins to learn how quickly a life can change.
When the Minnesota Sioux Uprising destroys the world she has known and threatens the people she loves most, Gen begins to question everything she has been taught about God.
Edge of the Wilderness:
In the aftermath of the Dakota War of 1862, Genevieve LaCroix struggles to accept the horrible news that Daniel Two Stars has been falsely imprisoned and executed as a criminal, when, in fact, he risked his life to save others. When a man Gen respects proposes, she learns that obedience can require painful choices. But then, just when she has learned to be content as Simon Dane’s wife and stepmother to his children, Gen learns that Two Stars is alive.
Walks Alone, Sandi Rogg
A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance.
A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream.
Until their paths collide.
After fleeing her abusive uncle, Anna is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner. Anna attempts a harrowing escape, but her savage captor is determined to have her at all costs and forces her to be his wife. Has God forgotten her, or does He have plans of His own?
A man with a boot in one world and a moccasin in the other, White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He’s definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can’t give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free.
Wildflower Bride, Mary Connealy
Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has vague memories of her former life, including a name—Abby Lind. When she’s forced to sever all links with her adopted family, Abby wonders if she’ll ever find a home again. Tenderhearted Wade Sawyer, responsible for Abby’s survival during the village massacre, convinces the knife-wielding woman to return with him to the Sawyer Ranch, never realizing danger lurks behind every corner. Can they survive long enough to fall in love?
Morning for Dove, Martha Rogers
When Luke Anderson falls in love with Dove Morris, he is aware of her Native American heritage. What he is not prepared for is the prejudice suddenly exhibited by his parents against Dove. Luke struggles with the feelings until a wildfire on the prairie threatens Morris Ranch. Luke joins the battle to stave off the fire as it approaches and risks his life to save Dove. Will his parents see that love knows no boundaries of race or culture when it is rooted in God’s love for His people?
With all the online dating sites these days, it might seem that cyber romance is the wave of the future. But as King Solomon so wisely said, there is nothing new under the sun.
Back in 1879, a female telegraph operator from Boston by the name of Ella Cheever Thayer published a romance novel entitled Wired Love. I ran across this wonderful little book while doing some research into telegraph operators. Apparently many operators were women and could often be identified as such by the delicacy of their “sounding” on the wires. The hero in Miss Thayer’s novel, Clem Stanwood, knows right away that the operator at the “B m” station is female.
Nattie Rogers is intrigued by the mysterious “C” at the “X n” station and seeks out converations that soon turn flirtatious. These two telegraph operators fall in love over the wire without ever laying eyes on one another. I haven’t read the entire novel, but the few chapters I did read were full of delightful humor and banter.
There is one scene about halfway through that was priceless. A case of mistaken identity had scared Nattie off, but Mr. Stanwood arranges a visit to her boarding house and while sitting amongst others in the parlor, he begins tapping out code with his pencil against a marble table top. Nattie recognizes her call name and, taking up a pair of scissors, drums out her own answer. They carry on an entire conversation this way with no one else in the parlor suspecting their action were anything more than idle tapping. Until, that is, Mr. Stanwood reveals himself to be the real “C”.
Nattie jumps to her feet and exclaims aloud, “What do you mean? It cannot be possible!”
Don’t you love it? Hysterical!
Of course everyone else in the room thinks she’s lost her mind except the hero who crosses the room to take her hand. Ahhh…
Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes was a best selling book for over 10 years. And why not? The story is timeless. Remember You’ve Got Mail, which was adapted to e-mail from The Shop Around the Corner where Jimmy Stewart did his courting through letters? Very similar premise. And there are so many parrallels to dating in today’s “wired” world. Can you trust that she looks like her description? Is he a gentleman or a stalker? How about the awkwardness of the first face-to-face meet? And with all the abbreviations used on the telegraph lines, it reminded me of the text speak our kids use today. It is really rather eerie how easily Ella Thayer’s story translates to our contemporary society 130 years after it was written.
Wired Love is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Amazon or you can read it on Google Books. Those who love research will find a treasure trove of details concerning how a telegraph was run. Those who love to travel back in time will enjoy delving into authentic 19th century life. And those who love a clean love story with a healthy dose of chuckles along the way will find a great read. You might want to give it a try.