After a very long eighteen months of isolation that tried my very soul, this year I wanted to get away on July 4th. I wanted to go somewhere very special to celebrate being alive. I think many, many others had the same idea. So when a writer friend, Dee Burks, who lives in Raton, New Mexico urged me to come for their balloon festival, I didn’t hesitate.
Lord, I was glad I didn’t. It was the perfect getaway. Since this was much smaller than most of the festivals, it was very easy to get that coveted ride in a hot air balloon. There were only something like fourteen balloons—the perfect number.
The first morning, my friend and I got up around five so we’d have time to get ready and get to the pancake breakfast served by the Kiwanis Club. Cool mountain air. Lots of smiling faces.
It was after swallowing that last bite that Dee broke the news that we were going to have to crew a balloon called Any Way The Wind Blows that was piloted by Rick Moors of Albuquerque. The ground crew had to spreading the balloon out on the ground so the pilot could fill it with hot air.
Then I found out the balloon weighed 690 pounds!! It took some doing to lay it out. This is me trying my darndest. But, we made it.
The clouds went away and Pilot Rick gave my friend and I the first ride. I was excited and apprehensive and nervous but I climbed in and got a crash course in what to do if something went wrong. I had faith it wouldn’t though. We were far away from power lines and other obstructions.
Then we took off. There was no motion. I could not tell we were rising other than by looking at the ground. We were drifting higher and higher. This was our balloon.
It was quiet up there. And so beautiful. I took a picture of these horses down below. They didn’t even notice us.
We were up about twenty minutes or so then Pilot Rick set us down in a pasture. I have to say the landing was pretty rough but understandable since that thing has no brakes on it. My friend grabbed me or I would’ve fallen out of the basket.
I did it!! It was the ride of a lifetime and I had no regrets. I wasn’t a bit afraid.
After we climbed out, we discovered we had to fold the balloon up and we had already started by the time a four person chase team arrived. I saw every aspect up close and personal. Lord, I was exhausted by the time we finished for the day!!
The next day we went back, although not as excited, and after more pancakes helped out again. Thankfully, we had a little more help so it wasn’t as hard on us ladies.
But, my vacation wasn’t over. The second afternoon, we drove two thousand feet higher up to the top of Johnson Mesa and we found a little church that was built in 1879 by a small group of settlers who once lived up there. It looks like prairie land and not up almost 9,000 ft. A sense of utter desolation came over me and I wondered what lured anyone to that spot of ground. A little cemetery was across the road and inside the church was list of everyone buried there (a lot were children) as well as the names of the former residents.
It was such a lonely place I wanted to weep. Once the snows began, the people would’ve been completely cut off from the world with no way to get help or a doctor if they needed one. It sure put me in the right mindset for my next series about three sisters having to live away from everyone because of their father’s reputation.
Then, Dee drove us by the cemetery in Raton and told me that people have put solar lights on the graves and after sundown it’s all lit up. I wanted to see that but couldn’t stay awake for night. I got a picture of this little doe that was right by the cemetery. She was posing for me and not scared at all. Deer and bear wander all through town, into people’s yards and wherever else they take a notion.
Every so often we have these moments that fill us up and make us very grateful to be alive. This trip was that for me and I’m glad I could experience it.
Have you ever gone anywhere or done anything that was out of the ordinary? I’m giving away a $15.00 Amazon gift card to one commenter.
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I actually had a completely different post in mind for you today, and had it half written, but other obligations and procrastination got the better of me. I did some research earlier in the week but didn’t get started drafting the post until this afternoon and got to feeling, shall we say, a bit under the weather before I could complete it. So instead I’m reviving a older post on a fun topic. And by way of apology I’ll be giving away multiple copies of my books (I haven’t quite decided how many yet).
Once again I was trying to come up with some activity or thing the children in my current WIP could use to amuse themselves. One idea I thought of was paper dolls. But how common were they in 1894? So off I went to do some research. And here is a summary of what I found
First of all, identifying the date of the appearance of the first paper dolls depends on your definition of what a paper doll is. As early as AD 900 the Japanese were using paper figurines in purification ceremonies. In the thirteenth century the Chinese used large stick-mounted figures in their puppet shows. But most historians agree that paper dolls as we currently think of them originated in the late eighteenth century when French dressmakers employed them as a way to illustrate the latest fashions to their customers. Today you can find a rare set of hand painted figures from the 1780s housed in the Winerhur Museum in Delaware.
In Europe, many of the early sets of paper dolls depicted actors and actresses of the stage and there were separately crafted toy stages to go with them.
In Pioneer America, however, paper was a prized resource and any child lucky enough to get paper dolls treasured them greatly. They were carefully pressed between the pages of books or placed in a sturdy box.
In 1810, the S&J Fuller Company of London produced the first commercially popular paper doll. Named ‘Little Fanny’, the two-dimensional doll was printed in a 15 page book that boasted seven distinct figures. In addition to the various poses and outfits, the book included a moral tale for the edification of the children to whom it was presented. Two years later, J. Belcher of America printed a similar doll with accompanying moral tale, this one named Little Henry. Within ten years paper dolls were a popular toy for children in both America and Europe.
In the early days, basic paper dolls were created in various states of dress. Some came modestly dressed with permanently painted on clothing, while others were attired only in undergarments. Also, the early versions were missing the tabs for affixing the clothing that are common place today. Before these came along, children carefully applied tiny drops of sealing wax to the paper ‘clothes’ as a temporary glue.
Before chroma-lithography came into common usage, paper dolls were colored by hand. Civil War widows often supplemented depleted incomes by embellishing the printed dolls . However, even after the advent of lithography, some of the manufacturers continued to print in black and white for children to color themselves.
In 1856, Anson Randolph published the book Paper Dolls and How to Make Them, A Book for Little Girls. Inside the pages were illustrations of dolls and clothing to cut out and play with. According to The New York Evangelist:
“Paper Dolls and How to Make Them, is a book of a thousand for little girls. It contains instructions how to make those ingenious and beautiful little paper dolls, clothed with every variety of costume, and every style of appearance, which are sometimes sold at the shops. The instructions are so plain, and the plates giving illustrations so numerous, that every little girl can learn the art, and in learning it, will have a perpetual field for the exercise of taste and ingenuity. The study is exceedingly attractive, and will furnish means of enjoyment to the nursery and fireside that may well alternate with books and plays. The author has displayed great tact in giving the descriptions, and a genial loving desire to promote the happiness of children — a trait which we place among the highest virtues, in anybody. As there is nothing of the kind in market, and opens a boundless field of occupation and enjoyment, the little book must become a favorite.”
(Ah-ha – this is something I can use in my book!)
In 1859 Godey’s Lady’s Book became the first magazine to include a paper doll in its pages. Other magazines quickly followed suit, including Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping and Women’s Home Companion. These dolls carried such names as Lettie Lane, Polly Pratt, and the famous Kewpie Dolls, and often included figures comprising full families, including servants and pets. The most popular of these ‘magazine dolls’ came along in 1951 from McCall’s Magazine – Betsy McCall.
As paper dolls grew in popularity, manufacturers of household goods saw them as a great medium to promote their products. Some of the products advertised include Pillsbury flour, Singer sewing machines, Hood’s Sarsaparilla, Clark threads and Lyon’s coffee. These dolls were produced either as die cut items or as printed cards to cut out. They were produced in large quantities and many examples can still be found today. J&P Coats company (now Coats and Clark) took this a step farther when they came up with a unique take on the paper doll. There were five different dolls available to purchasers of Spool and Crochet Cotton. The unique feature of these dolls were that they had mechanical heads. The head piece was separate from the body and was actually constructed in a wheel formation that contained three heads painted on both sides, so that the doll could be viewed with any one of six expressions, and even some slight variations on hairstyles. This head was attached to the body of the doll at the neck with an eyelet, The clothing for these ‘mechanical paper dolls’ were constructed with a fold and slipped over the head in the same fashion as a ‘real’ dress.
Another group that jumped on the paper doll band wagon were newspapers. In the 1890s the Boston Herald printed two paper dolls, a blonde and a brunette along with instructions for ordering additional dolls. They kept the interest alive by printing clothing for the dolls in subsequent issues. The Boston Globe, not to be outdone, began printing their own series of dolls and clothing. After the turn of the century a Teddy Bear paper doll series made an appearance in the paper as well. By 1916 several other papers had begun following suit. During the Great Depression, newspaper produced paper dolls enjoyed a huge comeback. Many of the characters were pulled directly from the comic papers, characters such as Dick Tracy, Li’l Abner, the Katzenjammer Kids and Brenda Starr.
The 1940s and 1950s was the advent of America’s romanticized love of the Wild West and this was reflected in paper dolls as well. Many sets of paper dolls were crafted after characters from western movies and television shows, and of the imagined life at a dude ranch.
By the early 1960s, Barbie had appeared on the paper doll scene and quickly became the most popular paper doll among American children of all time, a title she still holds at the time of this posting.
I admit, despite the popularity today of all the electronic gizmos, I have fond memories of the hours of creative play my sister and I had with paper dolls and fashion dolls exercising our imaginations to bring the toys to life.
So what about you? Did you play with paper dolls as a child or is there a child in your life who did? Do you have a particular memory you’d like to share?
Leave a comment to get your name tossed in the hat for a chance to win your choice of any of my books.
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I hope you all had a very joyous Christmas and a fun-filled New Year’s celebration.
Last year I took a break from writing western historicals to pen a contemporary short story. It is titled A Crossword Puzzle Christmas and is part of the Christmas Roses anthology. As the title of the story hints, my heroine is a crossword puzzle enthusiast. Which got me to wondering about the origins of the crossword puzzle itself. So of course I immediately dug in and did some research on the subject and here are a few tidbits I found.
Crossword puzzles are a relatively new pastime. The first one was published on 12/21/1913 in the New York World newspaper. The creator of this first puzzle was a journalist by the name of Arthur Wynne who hailed from Liverpool. You can see a reproduction of his original puzzle below.
Arthur came up with the idea for these puzzles when he was trying to think up a new kind of game for the newspaper’s Christmas edition. He adapted it from a popular children’s game called ‘word squares’, transforming it into something more challenging for an adult readership.
The original puzzle was well received, so much so that Arthur created new puzzles for the next two Sunday editions. In fact, when the New York World tried to drop the feature, readers complained so strenuously that the owners of the paper decided to make it a permanent part of the puzzle page.
Arthur Wynne originally dubbed his puzzle a Word-Cross puzzle. However, several weeks after the puzzles debut, typesetters accidentally transposed the title and printed it as Cross-Word. For whatever reason, the name stuck.
Though readers loved the puzzles, newspaper editors had the opposite reaction. The puzzles were difficult to print and they were prone to typographical errors. It was such a problem that no other newspaper wanted anything to do with them. As a result, for the next decade the only newspaper to carry the popular crossword puzzle was the New York World.
Believe it or not, the crossword puzzle was responsible for launching publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster. Popular lore has it that Richard Simon’s Aunt Wixie wondered aloud to him whether there was a book of these puzzles that she could purchase for her daughter. Simon, who was trying to break into publishing with his friend M. Lincoln Schuester, latched onto the idea as a way to kick start his business. The pair approached the New York World’s crossword puzzle editors and reached an agreement with them. For $25 each, they purchased the rights to publish the best puzzles in a book. They then sunk all their money into printing The Cross Word Puzzle Book. By year end they had sold more than 300,000 books and Simon & Schuester had become a major force in the publishing industry.
As you can see from the puzzle above, the grid was originally diamond shaped. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the puzzles began to take the block form we’re familiar with today.
It was also in the 1920s that crossword puzzles really took off in America. The puzzle craze inspired a Broadway plat titled Games of 1925 and a hit song called Crossword Mama, You Puzzle Me (don’t you just love it!).
Despite their 20th century origin, crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread of word games in the world today.
There you have it – a brief history of the Crossword Puzzle.
So which of these tidbits surprise you the most? And how do you feel about crossword puzzles – do you love them? Hate them? Feel indifferent? Are there other types of puzzles you prefer?
And since this is my first post of the new year, I thought I’d celebrate by doing a giveaway. Everyone who leaves a comment on today’s post before noon on Tuesday will be entered into a drawing – the winner will have their choice of any book in my backlist
Today is one of the happiest days for children and adults, outside of Christmas and birthdays. Or at least that’s my opinion. I’m fortunate to share my blog with Fellow Filly Shanna Hatfield. I’m going to blog about some history and fun facts; before turning it over to Shanna to tell you a little about her special Pumpkins Cookies, yummy!
To my surprise, Halloween has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
In the late 1800’s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.
Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion, yes with a “B”, annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all about how Halloween traditions fit in with young women identifying their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday…with luck by next Halloween…be married. In the 18th century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.
Another fascinating tradition was when young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; and, some also tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water.
One of the beloved events is our church’s Trunk or Treat which is a safe and fun environment for kids to go trick or treating out of the trunk of member’s cars in the parking lot. It’s open to the public, not just the youth of our home church.
I’m happy to have Shanna Hatfield chiming in with one of her favorite Halloween treats.
“I’m a pumpkin fanatic! The fascination with pumpkin treats started with my aunt’s decadent pumpkin roll and ends with pumpkin pie (which I would eat any time of year). This recipe for pumpkin cookies is a fast, easy way to satisfy a pumpkin craving… and a sweet tooth! Happy Haunting!”
From Shanna Hatfield, USA Today Bestselling Author
1 box of spice cake mix
1 small can of pumpkin pie filling
1 cup cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cake mix and pumpkin until thoroughly blended.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment and drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.
Bake about ten minutes, until the cookies are just set, but not yet starting to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Warm cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 12 seconds, or until thin enough to pour. Drizzle over cookies. Top with toffee bits, cinnamon, sprinkles or candied nuts if you want to get all fancy-pants (which I generally do).
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I will give away a copy
of any of my eBooks from Amazon! Happy Holiday, Phyliss
And, thank you, Shanna, for sharing your recipe with us.
Most of the romantic series I’ve written are family sagas, with the stories centering around one set of family members or friends and usually, (but not always) the stories are set in the same town, territory, or city. But the key factor is how to tie in the stories, while still making the plot easy to follow for readers who have not read the other books. Authors often say the books are part of a series, but they can also be read as a STAND ALONE, meaning they have all the elements in the story to make for a satisfying read even if you haven’t read the other books. It’s the task and joy for the writer to make sure the story holds up and is a cohesive enough to stand alone.
My series are usually a set of three stories, but sometimes as I’m writing, another character pops up that needs his or her to be told. So there’s no hard and fast rule about how many books can be in a series. If an author has a vision for six or ten or fifteen stories and the readers are invested enough and love the stories, the writing, and the setting, more the better.
What’s Fun About Writing a Series:
The Setting—once the town or ranch or territory is established, readers (and the authors) love to revisit familiar places from the earlier books. In my Forever Texan series we often see the Bluebonnet Bakery and Wishing Wells and 2 Hope Ranch.
The Characters—it’s fun to see the characters interact together from one story to another. Brothers, sisters, cousins, moms and dads and best friends all play a role, but the writers strive to make sure the romance between the hero and heroine is the main event in every story. The secondary characters often get their own stories later down the road.
The Theme – Often there’s an underlying theme that connects the stories. It can something as simple as a holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe, or a special event such as a rodeo coming to town. It can also be a wedding or a pregnancy that connects the stories. The themes know no bounds. I was once part of a multi-author series about a Bachelor Auction. I’ve also written a series centered around a winery called Napa Valley Vows, a series centered around a hotel called Suite Secrets and around a ranching family called The Slades of Sunset Ranch.
The Love– Not between hero and heroine, because that’s a given, but for the author. Once I’ve established my town and the people in it and yes, even the stories I plot and plan out, I sorta fall in love with the whole idea. These people are my friends, this town is somewhere I’d love to live and it’s the journey and the challenge to make the series click and stick, as I say. One thing I know for certain, once the love is gone, once the writer tires of the setting or runs out of story, it’s time to move on, to be inspired once again.
I’m really proud of my new Forever Texan story set in Hope Wells, Texas. The stories center around two cousins and their best friend. It’s been a labor of love for me, as I started this series long ago and have finally found the right time and place to publish this trio of amazing Texans. I’ve been lucky enough to have input in the covers, the titles and series name. It makes this all the more special for me.
You may already know the first book in the series Taming the Texas Cowboy starring Trey and Maddie Walker, but I’m happy to say the second book in the series (Jack and Jillian’s story) is available for pre-order. And this is the OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL for Loving the Texas Lawman. I know, it’s a hardship looking at this guy, isn’t it?
The last thing honorable Sheriff Jack Walker needs is a blast from the past, but that’s exactly what he gets when his high school love, now sexy lingerie designer, Jillian Lane arrives on his doorstep needing his help and protection.
Jillian is desperate to save her company, Barely There and turning to Jack Walker, the town hero, is her only option. The trouble she left behind in California has followed her home, leaving Jack no choice but to protect her. Unwittingly, Jillian’s put everything Jack has ever wanted in life at risk.
The years have not made it easier for Jack to say no to his first love, but saying yes may threaten all he holds dear. Jack may have a solution: marriage–the temporary kind. And how can a girl from the wrong side of the tracks refuse a marriage proposal from her one-time love?
For Fun: Take a guess at the names of my hero and heroine from FOREVER TEXAN Book 3 titled, Redeeming the Texas Rancher coming this August. Post either number ONE, TWO OR THREE and be entered into a random drawing to win a backlist book of your choice, either print or digital from my available titles. Random drawing winner will be posted later tonight. Be sure to stop by again!
Gambling has been a popular way to fill empty time almost as long as people have existed. Many modern words related to gambling saw their genesis in the 1300s. “Pasteboards,” slang for playing cards, arose in the 1540s because the cards were made of layers of paper pasted together. Roulette, in the gambling sense, originated in about 1725. Terms like “game of chance” (1920), “snake eyes” (1930), and Lady Luck (1935), on the other hand, didn’t arrive until the early 20th Century.
The following words and phrases, most of them slang appropriations of previously mundane words and phrases, sneaked into the language during the 1800s.
Ante: opening bet; American English poker slang. Noun form arose 1838; verb, 1846. Both are based, appropriately, on the Latin ante, meaning before.
Baccarat: As a card game, arose 1848. Variant spelling of the French word for the same game, baccara, which is of unknown origin.
Bank: to put money on. American colloquial usage arose c. 1884, based on the 1833 meaning “to deposit in a bank.”
Bankroll: roll of bank notes. American slang from 1887 as a conflation of “bank” and “roll,” the latter of which gained the slang meaning “quantity of paper money” in 1846.
Beginner’s luck: explanation for wins by the inexperienced. American slang c. 1897.
Big deal: in poker, a game-changing turn of the cards. Arose mid-19th century. The sarcastic phrase meaning “So what?” is American English from 1965.
Bilk: a cheat or to cheat. Although the 1651 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as a cribbage term meaning to spoil an opponent’s score by playing unusable cards, in the western U.S. after the Civil War, calling someone a bilk was about the worst insult one man could bestow upon another. “[T]he most degrading epithet that one can apply to another is to pronounce him ‘a bilk.’ No Western man of pluck will fail to resent such concentrated vituperation.” (A.K. McClure, Three Thousand Miles Through the Rocky Mountains, 1869)
Blackleg: gambler or swindler. Popular in the American West 1835-1870.
Bottom dollar: the last of one’s money; from 1882.
Bluff: the noun meaning subterfuge in cards dates to 1839 in the U.S., perhaps from the Dutch bluffen (to brag or boast) or verbluffin (to baffle or mislead). Bluff as an alternative name for poker is American slang from 1844. The verb bluffing, meaning misleading in poker, arose c. 1845; later generalized to misleading in any context.
Card sharp: shortened form of the American slang term card-sharper, which entered the lexicon in 1859.
Chip: counter used in a game of chance. Americanism; first recorded in print 1840. “When the chips are down” is from the 1940s as a reference to the pile of poker chips on the table after all bets are made.
Cleaned out: left penniless by losses; arose c. 1812.
Craps: game of chance employing dice. American English from the Louisiana French craps (“play a dangerous game”), based on an 18th-century Continental French corruption of the British “crabs,” which was slang for the lowest dice throw: two or three.
Crap out: a losing throw of two, three, or twelve in the dice game of craps. American slang, 1835-1845. Called “seven-out” when the player threw a seven instead of making his “point.”
Dead-man’s hand: a poker hand including two aces, two eights, and any other card. Yes, it really is based on the hand Wild Bill Hickock held at the moment of his 1876 assassination by Jack McCall.
Dough: money. From 1851.
Down on [one’s] luck: at a low point financially or personally. From 1832; possibly borrowed from gambling. “Be in luck” first appeared in print in 1900 but may be older; “push [one’s] luck” first appeared in 1911.
Draw a blank: come up with nothing. The image is from lotteries, c. 1825.
Face card: jack, queen, or king; c. 1826. Also called “court cards” because of the royal images.
Four-flusher: a cheater or sneak. Arose 1896 from the earlier verb four-flush (origin uncertain), meaning to bluff a flush while holding only four cards in the same suit.
Full house: poker term for three of a kind and a pair. 1887 American version of the 1850s British term “full hand.”
Gamble: a risky venture. Arose as slang in 1823. By 1879, the act of gambling. Apparently a remnant of the dialectical Middle English gamel (1590s), “to play games.” The B may have been added due to confusion with “gambol.”
Gouge: to cheat, swindle, or extort. Verb form attested 1880, probably from the 1560s gouge, meaning to cut with the tool of the same name.
Grand slam: in suit-based card games, to win a series of games; 1814. First use as a bridge term 1892.
Have a card up [one’s] sleeve: originally, the poker term was literal. Poker players would hide a winning card under their sleeve cuff and exchange it for a losing card the sly. Arose c. 1898.
High-roller: extravagant spender. American slang by 1873, probably originally as a reference to throwing dice.
Jackpot/jack-pot: big prize. From 1881, a series of antes that results when no player has an opening hand consisting of two jacks or better. The slot machine sense arose 1932; slang for a big win in any situation from about 1944.
Joker: non-royal face card in a poker deck, 1868. Probably a reference to the generic British slang use of the word to mean any man, fellow, or chap. Black Joke, a card game in which all face cards were called jokers, is mentioned in Hoyle’s 1857 edition of Games.
Kitty: pool of money in a card game. Arose 1887 from 1833 “kit,” meaning a collection of necessary supplies, with a possible contribution from the 1825 British slang “kit,” meaning prison or jail.
Lucky break/lucky strike: in billiards, at least one ball landing in a pocket after the opening collision of cue ball with the rack. Attested from 1884. Earlier meaning “fortunate failure” arose 1872. Lucky Strike as the name for a brand of pre-rolled cigarettes, 1872.
Monte: a particular card game, so called because of the heap of cards left after the deal. The game arose 1824, with the name probably borrowed from monte, Spanish for mountain. The game was especially popular during the California gold rush. Three-card version arose in Mexico in 1877.
Pass the buck: American slang, originally literal, 1865. A bone-handled knife, or “buck,” was laid on the table in front of the dealer to keep track during poker games. As the game progressed, the deal passed from player to player around the table, and so did the knife. Figurative sense “shift responsibility” first recorded in print 1912.
Penny-ante: insignificant; American slang. Originally an 1855 poker term for small stakes.
Play the trump card: slang for an unexpected winning move; from 1886. Originally “play the Orange card,” which meant “appeal to Northern Irish Protestant sentiment for political advantage.”
Poker: a particular card game that arose in America in 1834. Origin of the term is unknown, but perhaps from the German pochen, “to brag,” which itself arose from a slang corruption of the verb spelled the same way which meant “to knock or rap.” May also be related to French poque, a card game similar to poker, though that is undocumented.
Poker face: expressionless by intent. 1874 slang from a poker tactic disguising a bluff.
Risky: dangerous. Arose 1825 from “risk,” which itself was a 1728 anglicized version of the 1660s French risqué. “Risk-taker” is from 1894.
Showdown/show-down: lay down a poker hand face-up. From 1873; American slang. Figurative “final confrontation” arose 1904.
Stack the deck: cheat by unfairly arranging the cards in a deck before the deal. First recorded 1825.
Straight: a poker hand containing any sequential run of cards from different suits; arose 1841 from 1640s use of the term to mean “level.” By 1864, “straight” became slang for the straight part of a horse-racing track.
Straightaway: the flat, straight home stretch of a horse-racing track; 1839.
Stud poker: a form of poker in which the first card is dealt face-down and the others face-up. From 1864; antecedents unknown. The related term “hole card,” meaning the card dealt face-down, is an Americanism from 1905.
Swindle: cheat out of money. American English colloquialism from 1826.
Take a chance/take chances: do something with an uncertain outcome. From the 1815 usage meaning “participate in a lottery.” The related “take a risk” is first documented 1826, but may be older.
Tinhorn: of no value, but flashy. By 1857, from the earlier use referring to low-class gamblers who used a tin can to shake dice.
In my new release THE TEXAN’S ONE-NIGHT STANDOFF, my heroine Ruby Lopez is an expert horse wrangler and trainer. As a result I had to do some extensive research on the subject of training horses. I found some inspiration in the Australian television series Downunder Horseman, a tutorial on how to train horses. Believe it or not, horses aren’t exactly docile and they have many fears that they need to overcome, such as approaching a body of water, or going into the water. It is not necessarily an inherent trait. Ruby is a gentle soul when it comes to animals, but she’s a spitfire and an independent woman, who isn’t opposed to flipping a man over her shoulders when he deserves it. She was so much fun to write, seeing how the man she nicknamed Galahad, because he rushed to her defense one night, softens her rough edges.
How many of these fun horse facts did you know? I was amazed at some of them!
Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.
Horses can run shortly after birth.
Domestic horses have a lifespan of around 25 years.
A 19th century horse named ‘Old Billy’ is said to have lived 62 years.
Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton
Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years
A horse’s teeth take up more space in the head than a horse’s brain.
Horses drink at least 25 gallons of water a day, more in hotter climates.
Horses are herbivores (plant eaters).
Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.
Horses gallop at around 27 mph.
The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 mph.
Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world.
Scientists believe that horses have evolved over the past 50 million years from much smaller creatures.
When horses look like they’re laughing, they’re actually engaging in a special nose-enhancing technique known as “flehmen” to determine if the smell is bad or good.
Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land. (That’s amazing!)
I’ve been running this fun prize package on Facebook, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Prize includes DVD, Bracelet Bling, two Charlene Sands’ books and Santa Kisses! Please stop by and enter to win my Twelve Days of Desire Giveaway!
It is a pleasure and a treat to be a guest once again here at Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you to all the fillies for hosting me today. I’ll be giving away THREE ecopies of The Christmas Quandary, so please leave a comment.
I love history and digging into tidbits of the past as I research details for my sweet western romances.
A zoetrope is one of several animation devices (pre-motion pictures) that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs, shown in progressive phases of motion.
The name Zoetrope was composed from the Greek root words “life” and “wheel” – meaning “wheel of life.”
A cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides is the basic component of the zoetrope. The inner surface of the cylinder features a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures. The slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing the illusion of motion.
A 5,000-year-old earthenware bowl from Iran is considered a predecessor of the zoetrope. The bowl, decorated in a series of sequential images, portrays a goat jumping toward a tree and eating its leaves.
Variations existed on the idea of the zoetrope, but it wasn’t until December 1866, when an American company, Milton Bradley and Co., advertised a zoetrope.
Zoetropes were eventually displaced by more advanced technology, notably film and later television. Today, some zoetropes can still be found in special art projects and performances.
In The Christmas Quandary, one of the characters purchases a zoetrope for his daughter’s Christmas present. The only quandary surrounding the gift is whether or not the child’s uncles will wear it out before Christmas morning since they can’t seem to stop playing with it.
Have you ever been in a quandary? Had a dilemma?
Share your answers for a chance to win one of three copies of The Christmas Quandary(Book 5 in the Hardman Holidays series).
And if you haven’t read any of the Hardman books, The Christmas Bargain (book 1) will be available for free digital downloads on Monday!
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.