Category: Dance

Going Courtin’

“Goin’ courtin’, goin’ courtin’…” 

Can’t you just hear a trail-dusty cowboy humming a tune, thinking about the dance that night and the girl he’ll twirl around in his arms? 

Community dances, barn dances, harvest balls, and the like gave people who didn’t often make it into town or have time for socializing a chance to connect, laugh, reminisce, and court.  

In my historical romances, I just love the idea of a community dance. I’ve included everything from formal balls to a dance in an empty warehouse. It’s so fun to think about the decorations, the refreshments, the clothes, and the music.

But especially the participants. It’s the hopeless romantic in me that sees these dances as a perfect opportunity for romance to blossom.

One of my favorite dance scenes is from my sweet romance Lightning and Lawmen. Two deputies both like the same beautiful girl. 

Think some sparks (or fists) might fly?

 

Dugan danced with every woman over sixty in attendance and several females under the age of ten, but he never once danced with any of the single young women in attendance. He certainly failed to ask her to dance. She’d just finished a rousing polka with a man she knew worked for Thane in one of his mines when she turned to her next partner and found herself swept into Dugan’s arms.

Suddenly, the rest of the dancers ceased to exist, the music faded into the background, and there was no one else in the world except Dugan.

“Delilah,” he finally said in a raspy tone that rendered her limbs languid.

Nearly tripping on the hem of her skirt, he kept her upright and swung her outside the door. In a few steps, he’d positioned them around the corner of the building where the dusky evening light wrapped around them in an amber-hued glow.

“Why are you dancing with doting grandmothers and little girls?” she asked, hurt by the fact he’d ignored her even if she didn’t want to give voice to her thoughts.

“Because I don’t wanna dance if it ain’t with you, Delilah. I don’t want to draw another breath unless you’re beside me.”

Even in the muted light, she could see his eyes darken while his nostrils flared. His lips parted, and she knew she was a goner.

“Dilly,” he said, giving her a long, thorough look as his hands bracketed her face. “What are you doing to me? Delightful, darling, delicious Delilah,” he muttered as his head descended toward hers.

Her eyes closed, anticipating the impact of his kiss when cool air suddenly spilled around her. She opened her eyes to see Seth shoving Dugan against the wall.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Dugan growled. His jaw clenched in anger as he glared at his friend.

“Leave my girl alone,” Seth warned, raising a fist with a threatening scowl.

“Since when is she your girl?” Dugan asked, removing his suit coat and handing it to Delilah.

Without thinking, she took it, appalled two men she admired were about to engage in fisticuffs over her. It was unthinkable!

“Both of you stop this nonsense right this minute,” she said, stepping between the two of them.

“Delilah, honey, I’ll settle this,” Seth said, placing a hand on her waist and kissing her lightly on the mouth.

If she hadn’t been so shocked by his improper advances, she would have slapped his face.

Dugan didn’t give her a chance to, though. He stepped around Delilah and grabbed Seth around the neck, pulling him backward.

From that point on, fists began flying while the two men…

 


For a chance to win a copy of Lightning and Lawmen, just answer this question:

Who are you cheering for?

Dugan or Seth? 

 

And just because the song is now stuck in my head, how about a little Goin’ Courtin’?

 

Dancing Outlaws

Dancing! Oh yes! I love it! I put dancing throughout my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series and it’s all the real-life outlaw gunslinger Clay Allison’s fault! They say he suffered a head wound during the Civil War and it left him with a terrible temper. Maybe so. His epitaph reads that he didn’t kill anyone that didn’t need it and it is a well-known fact that he put a lot of men six feet under.

But strangely, Clay loved to dance—a lot. He owned a ranch outside of Cimarron, New Mexico and always kept a violin player on his payroll.

I first put Clay Allison in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy as Houston Legend’s drover and my editor liked him so much she wanted me to give him his own book. I thought it best to make him fictional so I changed his last name to Colby. Book #1 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides—The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride—is about Clay Colby.

Clay and some of his friends are tired of running and want to settle down so they decide to carve a town from their hideout. Next came populating it so they send for mail order brides.

Since Clay has been writing a wanted woman in hiding, Tally Shannon, he asks her to marry him so she travels to Hope’s Crossing. She agrees.

Oddly, Clay makes sure one his fellow outlaws is a fiddle player and they have a dance each night after supper, waltzing over the uneven ground under the stars. And that’s how he and Tally get acquainted. It worked.

My town has the dancing-est outlaws you ever met. It keeps ’em out of trouble. (Psst, not really)

I’ve always loved to watch dancers, but I didn’t know how until around the age of 30. I was married and three kids underfoot when I took classes at the local college for ballroom dancing. I learned the foxtrot, tango, the waltz, and then the teacher threw in the two-step.

It opened up a whole new world and I loved it. The only problem was my husband didn’t dance and had no desire at all to learn so I was forced again to sit on the sidelines.

Occasionally one of male customers would ask me, but then we stopped going to those places altogether, and sadly, I lost what I’d learned.

I still love to watch dancing couples though. And I love the show Dancing With the Stars, living vicariously through them. Sometimes, I even get out of my chair and do the steps. You’d die laughing.

Dancing has been in our culture probably since the beginning of time. The earliest proof was found in 9,000 year old cave drawings. I’m astounded.

Some of the dances had such names as the Quadrille, the Minuet, the Polka, the Waltz, and many others. Rock and Roll brought many, many more dances like the Lindy Hop, the Twist, the Jitterbug, etc. This didn’t involve a partner so I jumped right in and loved twisting and gyrating and making a fool of myself.

Tell me the first person you ever danced with and the type of dance it was. I’m giving away The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride to three people who leave a comment.

Kickin’ up Yer Heels

Step back in time—how do you celebrate a barn raising in the Old West? A wagon train coming to town? A wedding? The end of a cattle drive? Or something as regular as a Saturday night?

Dancing!

The towns in the West were full of independent, rugged people, looking to make a mark on the world or at least on their own pockets. Town dances invited all to attend; cowboys and miners, outlaws and lawmen, bankers and merchants, cultured women and soiled doves. Dances were important to bring a community together for courtship and friendshipping. It was also a vehicle that mixed the social classes, giving people opportunities for advancing one’s class. America’s class system wasn’t as rigid as had been the countries of Europe and the attendees of the dances proved this especially in the West.

Immigrants found it easy to hoe-down with their neighbors as many of the dances originated in Europe and changed very little from the folk dances people already knew. The Polka was a favorite in the new West, but other common dances were the Quadrille, Grand March, Waltz and Scottish Fling. As dances evolved, new steps became incorporated and a dance master would call out the steps to keep the group in sync. This evolved into an American original, the square dance. It seemed to fit the American ideal of a mixture of people and ideas that work together to create a new culture.

In many western towns, women were scarce. And just as in Shakespeare’s plays, men would assume the female role. “Heifer branding” solved the problem as burly men would don a piece of fabric tied round their arm or strap on a bonnet or apron to take the place of the fairer sex and the party continued.

Hurdy-Gurdy Girls traveled to western towns in a group of several women, chaperoned by a married couple, often with children. They hired out for dances and then traveled on to another town.

Saloons found that dancing brought in more men and more money, and employed women as dance hall girls. These women were looked down upon by “proper” ladies, but they were not prostitutes as they were accused. Men would buy a dance ticket for a dollar, then spend it on a partner of his choice, dancing together for a quarter of an hour. The interaction allowed for dance and conversation with men starved for female companionship.

The women generally earned half the price of the tickets they claimed. If they took the man to the bar after the dance, they received a commission on the drinks as well. The dance hall girls could make more in a week than most men made in a month. They also made more money than the prostitutes did, and when given an opportunity, the soiled doves made their way into the dance hall ranks.

Towns also sponsored regular dancing events. In Albert Benard de Russailh’s travel journal, Last Adventure, published in 1851, he wrote of dances in San Francisco. “I am occasionally reminded of our balls at the Salle Valentine on the Rue St. Honoré. There is one important difference: Parisian rowdies often come to blows; but in San Francisco hardly an evening passes without drunken brawls during which shots are fired.”

Dance in the Old West is part of the mystique of the era and was as vital to building their culture, as it is today. It was used to release energy, bring together neighbors, socialize, and provide recreation. So come on out to the barn—let’s dance.

One lucky commenter chosen at random will receive her choice of one of Jo Noelle’s ebooks! To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on your favorite dance or your favorite dancing memory.

To follow Jo Noelle on on Facebook at Loving Sweet Historical Romance click here. To visit her website click here, and to buy her books, click here.

Works Consulted:

 

Updated: June 11, 2020 — 9:28 am

Margaret Goes Square Dancing

I’m ready to dance!

In a moment of madness, I decided to join a square-dancing class.  I figured it would be good exercise and wouldn’t be that hard to learn.  I mean how hard could it be to do-si-do?

Well, I got the first part right.  It is good exercise. I clock more than ten thousand steps during class. Dancing is also good for the brain. According to Psychology Today,research shows that dancing reduces incidences of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

As for the easy part: forget that. Square-dancing requires memorizing hundreds of steps and learning a new language. The director told us that if we got lost, to just stand still and look confused.  Now That I can do.

In spite of the challenges, the one thing I really enjoy is the courtesy. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the way partners bow and honor each other. Though dress is informal, almost everyone dresses up a bit, which adds to the fun. The best part? There’s no shortage of cowboys. Yee-haw!

The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures that were used in traditional folk dances from different countries. Folk dances were originally gala occasions where news would be swapped, and courtships formed.

The early colonists brought popular folk dances from France, Italy and Britain with them. However, following the American Revolution, the British dances fell out of favor and the French dancing styles took over. Many French terms like “do-si-do,” “allemande” and “promenade” are still used in square dancing today.

The French were not satisfied with the long double line of an indefinite number of couples, so they concentrated on the square limited to four couples. These squares were known at first as “French contra-dances,” or more simply as “French dances.”

Dance historian Phil Jamison writes in his book, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance  that in addition to European dances, African American and Native American dance forms contributed to the development of square dance.

The dances done in early America didn’t have a “caller,” or someone who yells out the moves to dancers. Rather, the expectation, Jamison says, was that dancers went to school, memorized the moves, then went to the ball.

“Square dancing in those early days was done to live music that was almost always played by African-American musicians. It’s believed that many of these musicians became callers due to the gap in literacy and formal training among slaves of the time.”

Jamison says he found evidence of an African American caller dating back as early as 1819 in New Orleans. Other African American dance moves, instruments like the banjo and fiddle, and call and response traditions were also incorporated.

There have been several attempts to have square dancing designated the national dance but, so far, the efforts have been defeated.  However, according to The Smithsonian, thirty-one states now claim square dancing as the official state dance.

Square Dancing has changed through the years to fit the needs of the people doing it.  All ages can join in the fun and there are many LGBT clubs. There are also groups for the handicapped.

Though square dancing, as we know it today, is now an American dance, it’s popular the world over. S.Foster Damon wrote in his book, The History of Square Dance, “Square-dancing is greater than any one nation: it is democracy itself, in dance form. Can anybody think of a better way to spread the spirit of democracy?”

What new and exciting things do you have planned

for the New Year? 

Meet the Haywire Brides

             s

         The Outlaw’s Daughter is available for preorder                   Amazon

B&N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: December 29, 2019 — 6:03 pm

Hurdy-Gurdy Girls of the Wild West ~ Janalyn Voigt

The American West was all about travel. Emigrants, drifters, outlaws, dance hall girls, and other characters made their way west. The rest is history. However, I couldn’t help but wonder during my research for the Montana Gold series how accurately that history is portrayed. The rise of dance hall girls was one of my deepest-held beliefs about the West. They’ve been carried forward through time as soiled doves with hearts of gold who willingly embraced their lifestyle. After learning about the hurdy-gurdy girls, I began to question this image.

Beginning in the 1840’s, pretty young women from Hessia (a past part of Germany) drew crowds by singing and dancing while playing a stringed instrument known as the hurdy gurdy. They did this during a financially-repressed time in order to sell brooms their families made. The fame they gained brought them to the attention of unscrupulous ‘soul merchants’ intent on procuring their services in the mining camps of America. Families were visited and contracts signed. The ‘hurdy-gurdy girls’ came to America. Their fortunes varied. Some did well for themselves, but others suffered. While some of the women simply entertained miners, others fell into prostitution.

This was a story that needed telling, I felt. As a former military wife, I knew firsthand how disorienting travel into a foreign land can be. When writing about the heroine’s struggles in Stagecoach to Liberty, I could call upon my own experiences. It’s hard to describe the confusion you feel when everything familiar slips away and you are faced with a completely new world.

This was Elsa’s situation at the opening of Stagecoach to Liberty. After signing a contract, she travels to America at the behest of a shady couple. Elsa is very much a maiden in distress when, on a stagecoach journey, she comes to the attention of a handsome Irishman with troubles of his own. By this time, she’s very much in need of help but fearful of trusting anyone. The freedom she sought by coming to America seems a distant dream.

Exploring the theme of freedom demanded that I answer some questions. What was true freedom (as opposed to the other kind)? Elsa’s journey in Stagecoach to Liberty reveals that, when we come to the end of our strength and reach out to God, we find liberty.

Amazon

Leave a comment, and I’ll give away reader’s choice of a digital version of Hills of Nevermore (Montana Gold, book 1) or Cheyenne Sunrise (Montana Gold, book 2).

    

 

 

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.

Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com

Website for authors: http://livewritebreathe.com

Sign up for Janalyn’s mailing list: http://janalynvoigt.com/join-e-letter

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2KTIDhe

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/JanalynVoigt

Goodreads Author Page: http://janalynvoigt.com/goodreads

Bookbub Author Page: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/janalyn-voigt

Image Attributions:

The heroine of Stagecoach to Liberty plays a hurdy-gurdy like the one in this image by Didier Descouens [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia CommonsPainting of a Hessian peasant girl by Neue Galerie, circa 1864-1874 [Public domain]
Wells Fargo stagecoach by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Part of the story in Stagecoach to Liberty takes place along the Mullan Road, shown in modern times in this image by Ian Poellet [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Updated: December 5, 2018 — 9:16 pm

And Then He Kissed Me — A Look Back at an Astounding Era — E-book Giveaway

Howdy!

I grew up in the 50’s — Okay, I’m giving away my age, but then, probably most of you know I’m a Grandmother — that gives away my age, as well.

Oh, how I loved that Motown sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  Do you remember it?   The Crystals, The Ronettes, Little Anthony?

If you’re too young to remember, come experience the magic of the 50’s music (for us young’ins).  I’m going to leave some links:

The Ronettes, Be My Baby — One of my favorites:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrVbawRPO7I

How many of you remember the dance names that they are doing in this link?  Can you believe that I do remember?  The main one, I believe, is the Bird, and in the middle they switch briefly to the Jerk.  Oh, how I loved those dances.  Did you?

And for all us romance lovers:  The Crystals, And Then He Kissed Me — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUaUIwuU8so

I still know all the words to this song.  Do you?

Me and hubby and a smooch — off to the right here.

Not to be outdone:  Anthony and the Imperials, Hurts So Bad — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSF2oLgyV5M

Oh, how I love this song.

Do you remember The Duke of Earl — another song I sing to my Grandchildren:  Gene Chandler and The Duke of Earl:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnfooEED8Y

Okay, and how many of you remember the dance those girls are doing in the background?  Would that be the Twine?  I think it is.  Did you do this dance?

And how about Rockabilly — that’s rock and country all in one.  Do you remember the Everly Brothers?  Oh, my gosh, how I loved all their songs:

Here’s one of my favorites — beautiful, romantic, magical — Let It Be Me — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ImS9RBszE — oh, my goodness, I melt when I listen to this

And how about one of their humorous songs:  Bird Dog — just recently I was singing this song to my grandchildren, who laughed and laughed and laughed and couldn’t believe it was an actual song.  So of course I had to find it online and play it for them:  Love this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US49tQbYsg0 — When men’s hairstyles defied gravity…

Of course, we can’t leave out The Beatles:  Here’s one of my favorites:  The Things We Said Today — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_-NHOPt3Mc

You might argue, that the Beatles are the 60’s — but oh, well, I can’t leave them out — they are probably the most inspirational band of all time.

Here are some of my other favorite Beatles songs:  Love in the Open Air, by James Paul McCartney — A very under rated song that I believe might be the most beautiful song written in the last Century.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir-Pl4szYOs

And of course, the most beautiful song, in my opinion, from the Album, Revolver:  Here, There, and Everywhere:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdcSFVXd3MU&index=5&list=OLAK5uy_n9q-ezB2RZF1WS7PR3h3drrTgNCf-DRSk — This, in my opinion, is a runner up for first place in what might be the most beautiful song of the last Century.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with Native American Romance?  Well, perhaps a great deal, in several different ways.  One is always searching for inspiring music to write by — I think we, as authors, often write to music.  And for a lively scene, nothing beats the 50’s and 60’s music in my opinion.  But there is also this little bit of fact:  Did you know that the Native American Men who toured Europe  mirrored the Romantic Inspiration and female response as that of many rock stars?

And why not?  Many of those men were extraordinarily handsome.  All these photos here are of a couple of the men who were with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. 

Well, that’s all for today.  Come on in and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As always, many of us writers are a bit busy and so we depend on your coming to the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to check to see if you are the winner of the Give-away.

And most of all, thank you for coming to the blog today.  And then he kissed me.

 

 

Updated: September 2, 2018 — 8:57 am

The Water Dance of the Scout

bannerHowdy!

And welcome to another wonderful Tuesday, and another give-away.  Because THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF is recently out in Tradepaper, I had originally wanted to do another give-away of that book (a $15.00 value).  However, I am away from home at present, which would make giving that book away rather difficult, and so I thought we could have a give-away of an e-book of mine instead…your choice.  So come on in and leave a message — that’s all you have to do to be entered into the drawing.  Void where prohibited.

Also, let me say again, that I rely on you coming here tomorrow — usually in the evening — to see if you have won.  I might have mentioned in my last blog that my schedule is rather intense, and although I’d like to chase up the winner, I usually don’t have a moment to myself to do that.  So please, do check back tomorrow.

apachescout4Because in my latest book, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, the hero is a scout, I have been wanting to post a little bit about scouting.  In my last post, we went into a little detail on how it is that a scout could tell many different characteristics of a person — even to his emotions — from the prints left on the ground.  In my last post I also promised to tell you a little about “the water dance of the scout.”

We all know that if one drops a rock into the water — or any object — it makes concentric circles in the water.  Any movement, it would seem, would cause water to move and to announce the presence of man or animal in the water.  So, how did the scout of old manage to move in the water without being seen, without making those telltale concentric circles, and so stalk his prey, or obtain information on the enemy that could help his tribe?

I’m going to rely heavily upon the book by Tom Brown, Jr., THE WAY OF THE SCOUT to tell you a little bit more about this.  As I said in my last post, Mr. Brown was taken under the wing of an old Apache, whom Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, called Grandfather.  Grandfather had been trained as a young man into the old ways of the scout, and Grandfather wished to pass along some his knowledge so that it didn’t pass out of existence.

cheyennescoutI’m going to quote from the book now.  Grandfather is speaking:

“You must first understand that it (water) is the blood of our earth Mother, the same blood that courses through your veins.  Once entering the water you must blend your mind with that of the water, thus becoming part of the water and ultimately becoming invisible while wrapped in its mind…  …You must learn to move with the water, for to disobey its laws and move against its power is to perish.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

And so started the lesson, which is at first a little humorous to read.  As Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, were learning to become part of the water, they were having a tough time of it — trying to keep clear of brushes and fallen logs in the water.  However, he goes on with the lesson and says in his book, “After nearly two full hours of being impaled, battered, and tangled in sharp brush, Rick and I gave in to the stream’s energy and began to move freely, silently, and quickly.”  He goes on to say, “The stream and Grandfather had somehow taught us a great lesson without uttering a word…”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

siouxscoutHowever, they had been going downstream.  Now they had to somehow go upstream.  Says Mr. Brown that he and his friend Rick were struggling even more now and really fighting the currents of the water.  He says that both he and Rick were being beat up by the struggle to fight upstream.  Imagine then, these two boys, who upon emerging from the water being beat and tired, with no energy left, then found Grandfather waiting for them — for he had gotten far ahead of them in the water.  Says Mr. Brown, “He had that smile on his face, unruffled and relaxed, depicting an air of not having struggled at all.  Rick and I, on the other hand, were cold, exhausted, bruised, and cut…”

Grandfather then told the boys that they had chosen to fight the water, instead of moving with it.  But how can one move with the water upstream?  Grandfather answered their questions by signaling them to follow him back into the water.  And here’s what Mr. Brown writes:

“We began to follow Grandfather closely.  His motions were like those of a well-choreographed water dance, a flowing ballet, where he moved effortlessly.  He weaved back and forth, riding whirlpools, slipping through backwaters on the inside parts of bends in the stream, and dancing across submerged logs without a struggle.  He used the power of the waters to move him.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

Isn’t that a beautiful description?0[5]  There is more, of course, as Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, learn how to move in the water by watching herons and egrets who were in the shallows.  They learn how to raise up out of the water without leaving any of the telltale concentric circles, and they learn to stalk the more aware animals — a fox for example — from the water.  Mr. Brown says that he and his friend, Rick, went on to stalk all kinds of animals from the water, and he says, “We laughed at the antics of our local wildlife population around the waters of camp.  They had become a bit neurotic when approaching the water, but nonetheless seemed happy to join in the game.”

This is an incredible book and an even more incredible journey that Mr. Brown takes you on in this book.  It’s an older book, copyrighted in 1995.  But in the book, Mr. Brown makes mention of a school, a Wilderness Survival School.  If you’re interested, you might pick up the book and see if the school still exists.

SpiritoftheWolf-The-R -- first draftI hope you’ve enjoyed the blog today and I hope you’ll leave a message.  Please visit my page on the Samhain website at:  http://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5090/the-spirit-of-the-wolf and read more about the book.

Pick up your copy today!

 

Updated: August 10, 2015 — 9:13 pm

Cowboy Christmas Music

Photo Credit: kirky29 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kirky29 via Compfight cc

‘Tis the season for crazy schedules, harried shopping, and frenzied decorating, baking, and wrapping. Whew! I’m exhausted and it’s only December 10. Today, I’ll be squeezing into the junior high gymnasium bleachers along with hundreds of other proud parents to listen to the Wylie Junior High bands perform their Christmas concert. My youngest son will be on the trumpet playing catchy tunes like the Santa of Seville and African Bell Carol.  All three of my kids are involved in band. No big surprise since my husband and I were both band nerds growing up.

Music is a big part of Christmas. I’ve switched out all the CDs in our van so that we have plenty of Christmas music to listen to as we drive around town. However, before things get too crazy, I thought it might be a good idea to remind ourselves of days when things moved at a slower pace. When a cowboy might sing his lonely Christmas songs to his horse out on the range or gussy himself up and take his best gal to a barn dance.

I found these two videos online and thought they’d be fun to share. Not your typical country music superstar’s renditions, but songs that harken farther back in time. Enjoy!

  • What are your favorite Christmas songs?
  • Any child or grandchild Christmas concerts on your holiday schedule?

SHORT AND SWEET and a GIVEAWAY!

Charlene Newsletter Banner2

 

Hi Everyone!   I’m celebrating a milestone anniversary all week long.  I always say you have to live life in order to write about it. After all, most of what we write about comes from actual people we’ve known, places we’ve been, emotions we’ve experienced and love we’ve given and received.

So help me celebrate 40 years of love!  Yes, that’s right four decades married to a wonderful man whom I love dearly and who loves me back just as much.  I think that’s why I became a romance writer. For me, these stories are just an extension of my love for my own personal hero!

 Answer these fun questions:

Charlene and Don

Charlene and Don

1. Where was the above picture taken?

A.  At a wedding

B. At Charlene’s Class Reunion

C. At a Romance Writers Awards dinner

2.  Charlene and Don have:

A. One child

B. Two children

C. Three Children

3.  Charlene’s First Western novel was called:

A.  Bodine’s Bounty

B. Taming the Texan

C. Lily Gets Her Man

4  Charlene’s wedding reception was at:

A. The Secret Garden

B. Nob Hill

C. The Odyssey

5.  Charlene and Don’s favorite vacation spot is:

A. Palm Springs

B. Bass Lake

C. Lake Tahoe

D. All of the above.

Here’s a sneak peek at my next Desire.  I will give away 2 advance print copies of REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY.  This is a July/ August release, so you’ll have to be patient.  As soon as I get my author copies, (think June) I’ll send one to the winners, before they even hit the shelves.  If you are willing to write a fair and honest review, all the better!  Just play the game and have fun.  I’ll be out celebrating, so I’ll pick my random winners on Sunday night…my real anniversary!

Ten years ago = ancient history…right? 

So what if former rodeo champion turned construction mogul Casey Thomas is back…living right next door? Susanna Hart is busy running her Sweet Susie’s pastry business and raising her two-year-old cousin. Why pay any attention to the man who took her virginity ten years ago, then left town? 

Casey still feels guilty for taking advantage of his little sister’s best friend. A helping hand is just what her business—and his conscience—need. But guilt isn’t his only motivation. Casey’s got a sweet tooth for Susie. And the more she resists, the sweeter it gets!

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Updated: May 15, 2014 — 12:53 am

Jan Sikes: Honky-Tonks and Flowers and Stone

 

When I was asked to be a guest blogger, I was thrilled. I have visited this sight often over the years since my sister, Linda Broday, is a founding Filly.

 

My next thought was,”What am I going to blog about that has to do with petticoats or pistols and in relation to my new book, Flowers and Stone?” It didn’t take long to come up with an answer.

 

My story is set in the rowdy honky-tonks of Texas in 1970; and back in that time, it was not uncommon for men to carry pistols (most often in their boot) and also very common to find ladies wearing a petticoat in the honky-tonk. After all, that was the best way to get a dancing partner for the night.

 

So, what I want to blog about is how that although time periods change, some practices do not. In the 1800’s music was the main source of entertainment. People worked hard and needed to have some way to relax and unwind (much like 1970). Alcohol was normally found to be a part of the event as well (much like 1970). There might be a fight or two break out (much like 1970) and two people might fall in love (much like 1970).

 

I’m sure you have heard stories about your parents or perhaps grandparents who met at a dance and wound up spending the rest of their lives together.

 

Then there were the saloons…now that’s where a big difference comes in. Women were shamed and ostracized in the 1800’s if they went inside a saloon, much less worked in one. In 1970, the honky-tonks thrived on the business women brought in because where there were women, men would follow and men drank, therefore spending money. All of the waitresses were women and in Texas, 1970, go-go dancing was a new rage.

 

In “Flowers and Stone” you will find young Darlina Flowers, a fledgling go-go dancer trying her wings out in the world, and a seasoned musician, Luke Stone, who finds himself inexplicably drawn to her. He has a strong urge to protect her from the rough honky-tonk world he’s lived in for a very long time.

 

As the story unfolds, they fall deeply in love and Darlina embraces the lifestyle, traveling with him and his band up and down the many roads of Texas playing their music. Luke decides to make her a part of his show bringing go-go girls to country music crowds. She is ecstatic to be included.  

 

I loved weaving some of Texas music’s history throughout the story and noted often how people came in great numbers to hear the band.

 

This is a true story based on my life with my husband, Rick Sikes. The band was Rick Sikes and The Rhythm Rebels, and they played in most of the honky-tonks, military bases, rodeos and even high school dances all over Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and on out to California. They must have traveled at least a million miles over the many years they played. Here are some pictures of Rick and the band and of him dressed in his confederate uniform that he loved.

 

Music brings people together and it doesn’t matter if you are making it or listening to it. The energy of music draws people into the emotion of the song. Sometimes it is the person making the music who draws people in, but it always captures our attention and sometimes even a little part of our soul. There is nothing better than true “soul” music and that is simply music that touches us.

 

I’ve really enjoyed reading some of the recent blogs on this site that shared what particular song the writer listens to while writing, or the history of a song that we’ve heard all our lives.

 

It truly is the universal language and remains as important today as it was 200 years ago. Some things won’t ever change….

 

Please click HERE to watch my book video. Rick is singing the song we used.


Tell me your favorite Honky-Tonk story for a chance to win an autographed copy of FLOWERS AND STONE.

 

FLOWERS AND STONE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, My Texas Books, and through www.JanSikes.com.

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Jan began writing poetry at a young age, which coupled with her passion for music led to songwriting. She’s an accomplished singer and guitar player and she’s written a screenplay in addition to her first novel. You can visit her at www.JanSikes.com.