OUT IN THE WEST TEXAS TOWN OF EL PASO (AND A GIVEAWAY!)–BY CHERYL PIERSON

How many songs do you know that had sequels to them? Remember “back in the day” when recording artists would sometimes “answer” a song with one of their own? Well, if you love Marty Robbins like I do, you’ll know that his song El Paso had not only one sequel, but two, and he was working on a third sequel when he died in 1982! I think that’s a “record” for musical sequels, don’t you? I love ballads, or story-songs, and to find out that there were sequels to my all-time favorite one was pure pleasure!

El Paso was written and originally recorded by Marty Robbins, and was released in September 1959 (I was two years old at the time, but Marty was my man from the minute I heard this song!) Though it was originally released on the album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, within a month it was released as a single and immediately became a hit on both the country and pop music charts, reaching NUMBER 1 IN BOTH at the start of 1960! But that wasn’t the end of it at all—it also won the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording in 1961, and with good reason. It still remains Robbins’ best-known song, all these years later.

 

Wikipedia states: It is widely considered a genre classic for its gripping narrative which ends in the death of its protagonist, its shift from past to present tense, haunting harmonies by vocalists Bobby Sykes and Jim Glaser (of the Glaser Brothers) and the eloquent and varied Spanish guitar accompaniment by Grady Martin that lends the recording a distinctive Tex-Mex feel. The name of the character Feleena was based upon a schoolmate of Robbins in the fifth grade; Fidelina Martinez.

The storyline is this: The song is a first-person narrative told by a cowboy in El Paso, Texas, in the days of the Wild West. The singer recalls how he frequented “Rosa’s Cantina”, where he became smitten with a young Mexican dancer named Feleena. When the singer notices another cowboy sharing a drink with “wicked Feleena”, out of jealousy he challenges the newcomer to a gunfight. The singer kills the newcomer, then flees El Paso for fear of being hanged for murder or killed in revenge by his victim’s friends. In the act of escaping, the singer commits the additional and potentially hanging offense of horse theft (“I caught a good one, it looked like it could run”), further sealing his fate in El Paso. Departing the town, the singer hides out in the “badlands of New Mexico.”

The song then fast-forwards to an undisclosed time later – the lyrics at this point change from past to present tense – when the singer describes the yearning for Feleena that drives him to return, without regard for his own life, to El Paso. He states that his “love is stronger than [his] fear of death.” Upon arriving, the singer races for the cantina, but is chased and fatally wounded by a posse. At the end of the song, the singer recounts how Feleena has come to his side and he dies in her arms after “one little kiss”.

Robbins wrote two songs that are explicit sequels to “El Paso”, one in 1966, one in 1976. Robbins intended to do one more sequel, “The Mystery of Old El Paso”, but he died in late 1982 before he could finish the final song.

Feleena (From El Paso) (FIRST SEQUEL TO EL PASO)

In 1966, Robbins recorded “Feleena (From El Paso)”, telling the life story of Feleena, the “Mexican girl” from “El Paso”, in a third-person narrative. This track was over eight minutes long, but what a story it tells!

Born in a desert shack in New Mexico during a thunderstorm, Feleena runs away from home at 17, living off her charms for a year in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before moving to the brighter lights of El Paso to become a paid dancer. After another year, the narrator of “El Paso” arrives, the first man she did not have contempt for. He spends six weeks romancing her and then, in a retelling of the key moment in the original song, beset by “insane jealousy”, he shoots another man with whom she was flirting.

Her lover’s return to El Paso comes only a day after his flight (the original song suggests a longer time frame before his return) and as she goes to run to him, the cowboy motions to her to stay out of the line of fire and is shot; immediately after his dying kiss, Feleena shoots herself with his gun. Their ghosts are heard to this day in the wind blowing around El Paso: “It’s only the young cowboy showing Feleena the town”.

El Paso City (SECOND SEQUEL TO EL PASO)

In 1976 Robbins released another reworking, “El Paso City”, in which the present-day singer is a passenger on a flight over El Paso, which reminds him of a song he had heard “long ago”, proceeding to summarize the original “El Paso” story. “I don’t recall who sang the song,” he sings, but he feels a supernatural connection to the story: “Could it be that I could be the cowboy in this mystery…,” he asks, suggesting a past life. This song reached No. 1 on the country charts. The arrangement includes riffs and themes from the previous two El Paso songs. Robbins wrote it while flying over El Paso in, he reported, the same amount of time it takes to sing–four minutes and 14 seconds. It was only the second time that ever happened to him; the first time was when he composed the original “El Paso” as fast as he could write it down.

Though there have been many cover versions of the original “El Paso” song, Marty Robbins put out more than one version of it, himself. There have actually been three versions of Robbins’ original recording of “El Paso”: the original full-length version, the edited version, and the abbreviated version, which is an alternate take in stereo that can be found on the Gunfighter Ballads album. The original version, released on a 45 single record, is in mono and is around 4 minutes and 38 seconds in duration, far longer than most contemporary singles at the time, especially in the country genre. Robbins’ longtime record company, Columbia Records, was unsure whether radio stations would play such a long song, so it released two versions of the song on a promo 45—the full-length version on one side, and an edited version on the other which was nearer to the three-minute mark. This version omitted a verse describing the cowboy’s remorse over the “foul evil deed [he] had done” before his flight from El Paso. The record-buying public, as well as most disc jockeys, overwhelmingly preferred the full-length version.

I can’t tell you how many times I played my 45 record of El Paso on my little portable record player as a little girl. As a country and western song, this has to qualify as my all-time favorite, and my husband even managed to record and adapt the ringtone for me on my iPhone, so when my phone rings it plays the opening words to EL PASO. This has been a huge embarrassment for my kids when they were teens and had to be with me in public, but also was a source of amazement for them when other people actually smiled and said, “Hey! Marty Robbins!

Now THAT recognition is the mark of endurance—a song that is still beloved by so many after over sixty years!

A picture of “retro” Rosa’s Cantina that hangs in my breakfast nook.

 

I have not written any stories that take place in El Paso, but I’m offering a free copy of The Devil and Miss Julia Jackson or Gabriel’s Law, winner’s choice, to one lucky commenter–so don’t forget to leave a comment and your contact info!

What’s your favorite classic country & western song? Is there a sequel to it?

Marilyn Turk: No Iced Tea?

The fillies are handing a big hey welcome to guest blogger Marilyn Turk! Come on in!

When I began planning the menu for the Cowboy Café in my new novella, Love’s Cookin’ at the Cowboy Café, I was pretty sure I knew what foods would be served. After all, my main character, Sarah Beth Taylor, is a southern belle who hails from a Georgia plantation not far from Savannah. Since I, too, am a southern belle, (ahem), I’m familiar with southern food, and I was certain she’d serve iced tea.

But when I discovered our setting in Crinoline, Texas was in 1868 west Texas, I had a problem getting ice to her café. After years in the food service business, I had to rethink how they managed food preservation in 1868. How did they keep things cool in hot, dry Texas? Some of the gracious western writers on this blog offered solutions like spring houses, wells and basements. But ice? Now that was another matter.

Researching the history of commercial ice, I discovered that natural ice was originally harvested in the winter from frozen lakes, ponds and rivers in the north and stored in icehouses through the summer. Frederick Tudor of Boston began the ice trade in 1805, shipping ice blocks stacked with wood shavings and sawdust for insulation by ship or train. By 1847, ice was shipped to 28 cities in the United States, including those in the South like Savannah and Galveston. From there, the product was shipped inland via train or wagon.

As demand grew for natural ice, so did the competition. In 1851, Dr. John Gorrie of Florida (of course) invented mechanical refrigeration and the first ice machine. By 1876, the process had been perfected by other inventors. And in 1877, Elisha Hall and R.R. Everett established the Houston Ice Manufacturing Company, then other ice companies followed. Most ice plants produced 300-pound blocks of ice. Once made, block ice was delivered to homes and commercial businesses, first by mule or horse-drawn wagon. Of course, these wagons were not refrigerated, so they couldn’t travel too far from the ice plant and keep their ice frozen.

But Crinoline Creek was too far to get deliveries by wagon and there was no train there yet. It never got cold enough for the lakes and rivers to freeze, so they couldn’t cut ice from them. So, Sarah Beth couldn’t get ice in 1868 and she couldn’t serve iced tea. The best she could do was make lemonade as long as the general store could get lemons, or maybe order some bottles of sarsaparilla and hope to keep them cool in the well. I’m sure that eventually, ice was available in Crinoline Creek and the Cowboy Café could finally offer iced tea to its customers.

Hey guys, Marilyn has graciously offered to give away a copy of this marvelous book (I know that because I love these authors!!!!) Leave a comment, an opinion, or a pithy remark below about how you’ve managed to “make do” without something you’d like to have over the years? It could be ice… or chocolate?

No. 🙂 Not chocolate! Let’s see what you’ve got below!

Love’s Cookin’ at the Cowboy Café” by Marilyn Turk

A refined but feisty southern belle inherits a saloon she plans to convert into a genteel café. Even though her lack of cooking skills threatens disaster, she rejects the town banker’s advice. What will happen when the two lock horns and an unlikely romance simmers on the back burner?

 

A “literary archaeologist,” Marilyn Turk writes historical fiction flavored with suspense and romance for Barbour Books, Winged Publications and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. One of her World War II novels, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. She has also written a series of novels set in 1800 Florida whose settings are lighthouses. In addition, Marilyn’s novellas have been published in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection and Crinoline Cowboys. Marilyn also writes for Guideposts magazine and Daily Guideposts Devotions.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Word Weavers International.

When not writing, Marilyn and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, playing tennis or visiting lighthouses.

Marilyn is a regular contributor to the Heroes, Heroines and History blog. https://www.hhhistory.com). Connect with her at http://pathwayheart.com, https://twitter.com/MarilynTurk, https://www.facebook.com/MarilynTurkAuthor/, https://www.pinterest.com/bluewaterbayou/, marilynturkwriter@yahoo.com.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. I love the old New England version of Thanksgiving with the turkey and stuffing and potatoes and all the trimmings, minus green bean casserole. (No offense, green beans, but I don’t like them mushy!)

Cranberry and orange relish…

Eggnog.

Apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, pecan pie, banana cream pie, cream puffs.

I love a great dessert table after a beautiful meal, mostly because we spend summer and fall living on burgers and sandwiches and whatever we can grab quickly because there’s little time for fussing. So it’s fun to fuss on Thanksgiving and there are a whole bunch of us helping.

Now we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday (today). We do the family Thanksgiving tomorrow so that my kids with in-laws aren’t split by two hours at one house, two hours at another, and then two hours at another. So today whoever is at our house baking for tomorrow will have Chicken French and Artichoke French and for the two fellows who don’t love those, we’ll throw a steak on the grill….

That picture is two years old, but you get the idea… All hands on deck for baking!

And then tomorrow, tradition reigns.

I love seeing family all get together, but it happens rarely with a couple of kids far away, so whenever it happens, we celebrate! It doesn’t have to be a holiday because anytime I’ve got my kids around is a holiday.  And that’s even when we’re grabbing bologna sandwiches during the busy farm season because we’re all doing this together. And together is what makes it special.

And if you’re at a stage of life where you can’t or don’t get together with family for Thanksgiving, then you can spend your day with the sweet Lord who offers life and hope. It’s fun to have family around, but I know it’s tiring, too.

God isn’t tiring. He’s inspiring and loves you to distraction, so whatever your day holds, I pray that it’s a warm, embracing day, filled with love near and far.

A day to just simply give thanks.

God bless you!

And yes, I’m giving away another copy of our Christmas anthology “Christmas at Star Inn”!

I love these stories!

Leave a comment about whatever you’re giving thanks for today… no thought is too little or too grand. It’s all good. And if you’d like prayers for something, well we’re happy to do that, too!

Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friends!

Ruthy

Photographer on a Sidesaddle

with guest blogger Regina Scott.

 

I love researching for a new novel, finding those unique nuggets that are going to bring a character or setting alive. In my recent release, A Distance Too Grand, my heroine Meg Pero is a photographer who wrangles her way onto a survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871, only to discover the Army captain leading the expedition is the man she once refused to marry.

 

That doesn’t stop her. Meg’s used to being a woman in a man’s world. She followed her late father as he shot pictures of everything from a Civil War battlefield to Niagara Falls. Now she has to lug heavy cameras and deal with the harsh chemicals to prepare the glass plate negatives and develop the pictures. On such a rugged expedition, I thought surely she would ride astride.

 

Nope.

 

At that point in American history, except for a few daring or practical ladies out west, most ladies still rode sidesaddle. If Meg wants to be taken as a lady and a professional, she has to ride sidesaddle too. Which means, she needs a riding outfit.

 

And not just any riding outfit. For a two-month survey, Meg has one small trunk and two saddlebags in which to place all her personal belongings. If she wants to change her underthings, she has room for about two outfits. These outfits have to allow her to mount and dismount easily and climb into her photography van to set up her negatives. She must clamber over rocks, duck under trees, and venture out onto ledges to get the perfect shot. Nothing is more important to Meg than getting the shot.

 

Typical riding habits would not work. They were usually designed to look more like men’s wear, with tailored jackets and long, often tight sleeves. They also featured long skirts that could drape over the side of the saddle and hide the lady’s legs. Many of these skirts were so long they trailed on the ground when the lady was standing. All that would make it challenging for Meg’s work. 

 

However, as early as the 1830s, it was possible to purchase a riding habit that came with breeches or even trousers that were worn under a modest skirt. The short pants buttoned just below the knee. The longer trousers extended down over the boots and had a strap that went under the instep to keep them in place. If you look at this picture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can just see the hem of the trouser peeking out under the skirt on the right. Meg brings two such habits with her—one navy with brass buttons and one cream-colored version like what you see on the cover.

 

So, would you have been daring enough to wear breeches under your riding habit or even, ahem, ride astride? Comment below for a chance to win a print copy of A Distance Too Grand.

 

 

 

Regina Scott is the award-winning author of more than forty-five works of warm, witty historical romance. She and her husband live in the Puget Sound area of Washington State on the way to Mt. Rainier. Her fascination with history has led her to dress as a Regency dandy, drive a carriage four-in-hand, learn to fence, and sail on a tall ship, all in the name of research. You can learn more about her at http://www.reginascott.com or connect with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/authorreginascott) or Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/reginascottpins

Spring in Texas Means Bluebonnets (Plus a Giveaway!)

One of my favorite parts of spring is watching the roadsides for Texas bluebonnets. They cover entire hillsides in the area around Austin, but up in northwestern Texas, they are more of a rare find. There are certain places that I know to look each year, and about a week ago, I noticed the first patches of vibrant blue.

Two of my three kids have graduated from high school, and as part of their senior pictures, I made sure to get them out in a field of bluebonnets. There is a reliable patch out by our small airport, and we’ve made pictures there several times.

Many years ago, I snapped some photos of them myself in a field of bluebonnets in a vacant lot not too far from their school. Aren’t they adorable? (I’m not biased or anything.)

Peter, the youngest, won’t have his senior pictures made until next year, but here are Bethany and Wyatt in their bluebonnet photo shoots.

 

The year we made Bethany’s senior pictures, I also had a few author photos taken – yes, in the bluebonnets. Here are a couple of my favorite. (Unfortunately, it was very windy on the day we took the pictures, but I kept telling myself I was just like one of those models standing in front of a giant fan. Ha!)

  • Do you have favorite photo traditions in your family?
  • What are your favorite spring flowers?

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Oh, and one more thing . . .

A Huge Christian Historical Romance Giveaway!

If you love historical romance, this is the giveaway for you. Two winners will receive all 23 books pictured below. One winner will also receive a free e-reader. Authors participating include well-known names like Suzanne Woods Fisher, Susan May Warren, Misty Beller, and Rebecca deMarino. What a great way to discover new favorite authors!

I’m giving away a copy of More Than Meets the Eye, the prequel to my June release, More Than Words Can Say. Most of the books in the giveaway will be in e-book format, but some authors (including me) will offer the winners (if in the US) the option of choosing an autographed print copy. To enter, click here. The contest runs through April 17, so enter soon!

 

New Historical Novella Collection!

By Filly Ruth Logan Herne!

First, this is so much fun…. because every now and again I have to do the “To thine own self be true” thing and write a historical something…. Because I am in such admiration and awe of the courage and tenacity these women showed as they moved west and helped settle a rugged, wide open country.

It amazes me. What kind of courage did it take to pack a wagon with whatever it would hold (and still have room for children as needed) and WALK to the west.

Yep, that’s the ticket.

They WALKED to the west.

Imagine that. Imagine that in a time when folks fight in parking lots for the closest spot to park their cars!!!

Or people wheedle into handicapped parking spots, or the wheelchair accessible spots marked by bold yellow stripes…. because they’re only going to be a “minute”…

Soddies and dugouts made the log cabins of the first settlers look LUSH! 🙂 Trees for walls instead of thatch and dirt??? Yes, please!

And think of the people smart enough to cross the Atlantic with a skill… the first millers and grinders and lumberers…. the first people to settle on rivers and creeks strong enough to power equipment with paddle wheels long before we could power it with hyrdroelectric power….

OH MY STARS!!!!!

So this novella trilogy kicks off a three-book series set in the little town of “Second Chance”, South Dakota in the late 1880’s, just as President Harrison grants statehood to North and South Dakota in no particular order because they were constantly bickering…. (that sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?)

Now there’s some shenanigans going on here… Hattie McGillicuddy, the middle-aged seamstress who came west because staying in Boston offended her sensibilities after losing her family to illness and her temper to narrow-minded men… So Hattie moved west with a sewing machine, some cold, hard cash and a great work ethic but when Second Chance falls on hard times (like many start up towns and companies!) a lot of people go back east. Plagues of bugs and locusts, drought and blizzards took their toll… and Hattie realizes that Second Chance needs more folks, plain and simple, and specifically more women. And thus it begins as Hattie and her old friend Jean Ellen pick likely women to come west for a new job with Hattie… and a new life in Second Chance. Cover design and content edit by Beth Jamison, Jamison Editing.

LINK TO THE SEWING SISTERS’ SOCIETY!!!!!

Macy arrives with a secret, a baby boy whose future would be bleak with a single mother. So like Moses’ mother, Macy leaves little Will on the pastor’s porch and pretends to arrive the following day with her secret– and her beloved son– safe and secure. But she never counted on falling in love with the pastor, a man with a secret past of his own. Can they move beyond the pains of the past and trust the good Lord for their future?

Now Nellie comes to town with more than a little flourish! Hounded by the elitists of Pittsburgh and accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Nellie brings an amazing skill with her. She’s got a way with tucks and gathers, and what town doesn’t need more tucks and gathers? And she sees the world through shining eyes and a suffragist’s mindset, a woman who believes that all are created equal so why should men be more equal than women? When she meets up with staid and somewhat stern Levi Eichas, he’s not at all sure what to do… well, except when her pretty gown catches fire in his workshop, and then the only thing to do is to throw dirty foundry water on her fancy layered dress. An ignominious beginning for what could never be a long and abiding love… or does our Nellie turn out to be exactly what Levi needs to shake him out of his dull existence?

And when Ann comes to town, it’s with a broken heart firmly entrenched. She’s angry and grief-stricken and mightily depressed for having lost her husband and two children in a boating accident back in Pennsylvania. She scarcely knows how to breathe, much less do anything else, but when Jean Ellen’s friend needs someone who can turn a nice hem… and Ann does turn very nice hems!… she agrees to take the train west to help an ailing Hattie. And when she realizes the job means turning hems while keeping Sol Eichas’s two small children hale and hearty on the prairie, she’s ready to take the first train back east. But she gave her word, and who but a clueless man would bring two small children west, and think he can work the smithy adjacent to the wagon shop and work a claim and watch two kids? As the children and Sol claim her heart, Ann needs to decide if she’s strong enough to try again, here in Second Chance.

Paperback edition coming soon!!!!!

So these three novellas (which I had originally written a few years ago for anthologies with writer friends like Mary Connealy and Pam Hillman and Julie Lessman) are all in one book now…. and in March they will be joined by my first full-length historical novel “A Most Inconvenient Love”…

Because it seems Levi Eichas has three sisters, all of whom we meet in these novellas… and with their stern and unyielding father now deceased, the three Eichas women will get a chance to shrug off the gray shapeless dresses he had them wear and embrace life as others do, with calicos and prints and maybe even a touch of satin and lace! Once Nellie enters the family, well… all bets are off and color invades the Eichas claims outside of town… color…. and a chance for each woman to shine in her own way.

Cover design: Beth Jamison, Jamison Editing

Rachel’s story releases in March… and then the other sisters over the following year… and to thank you for joining me in this release party, I want to offer two Kindle copies of “The Sewing Sisters’ Society” to two lucky folks. And for extra chances thrown into the water bucket (with no water at the moment!) you can do these two wonderful things:

Let me know that I can include you on my newsletter list (I’d love to, if you’re not already there!) by either emailing me at loganherne@gmail.com or telling me in the comments below. I send them out about every six weeks or so…

And for another chance, hop on over and follow me on Bookbub… Bookbub Link Here!

I’ll gladly throw an extra chance into the water bucket!

Bookbub is lovely. They’ll simply pop you an e-mail anytime I release something new OR when one of my publishers runs a sale… Bookbub lets all of my followers know so no one misses out. It’s a great place to indicate the authors you LOVE so you never miss out on great deals.

And speaking of sales, Book one of my Double S Ranch series is ON SALE RIGHT NOW for $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle! Great book, great reviews, a wonderful beginning to a bestselling cowboy series!

Link to “Back in the Saddle”!

www.ruthloganherne.comIt’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
 
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why. 

 

GIVEAWAY!!!

If you enjoy sweet historical romance, I’ve got a contest for you!

 

 

Click on graphic to enter.

This contest was originally slated to end on July 18, but it received an extension, so now you have until July 23 to enter. I’m giving away a copy of my latest release, More Than Meets the Eye (print or digital, winner’s choice), but you’ll recognize several other western romance authors who have been guests here on Petticoats & Pistols.

Authors like:

  • Mary Davis
  • Linda Ford
  • Lacy Williams
  • Davalynn Spencer
  • Kimberly Woodhouse / Tracie Peterson

Everyone who enters receives 4 free e-books, first place winner will receive all 20 books listed, and the grand prize winner will receive all 20 books plus a new e-reader.

Don’t let the chance to win pass you by! Click on one of the contest graphics to access the entry form.
(Leaving a comment on this post will not enter you in this giveaway. You must visit the contest site.)

Click graphic to enter.

Hope you win!

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride ~ An Excerpt

A look behind the book!

To create a scene, quite often authors draw on their life experiences and the emotions they felt at the time. That is how Katie O’Rourke’s “date” with Doctor Graham became a scene in The Prairie Doctor’s Bride.

When my husband took his first job as a school principal, he moved our family to a remote rural area in western Illinois. We rented a big, old farmhouse on a hill surrounded by fields of corn and wheat and woods, three miles from the town where he worked. The picture above is similar to the house, except the condition was much better! I enjoyed living in the country, but there was no hospital nearby for me to work in my profession as an obstetrical nurse. I took a position at the closest place ~ a nursing home. I didn’t last long. Those lovely elderly men and women reminded me too much of my grandparents — one of which had recently passed away. My emotions were frayed after only one day of working there.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Nelson Graham, the doctor in my latest sweet western romance, the Prairie Doctor’s Bride, is in need of a wife (and a nurse.) Growing up in the east, he attended a boarding school and then a university in Boston. He never had much contact with the “fairer” gender and so when he decides to take a wife in Oak Grove from among the mail-order brides that the town has procured, he is more than a bit out of his comfort zone.

He makes a list of attributes he expects in a wife, but he also wants to make sure she will work beside him as his nurse. He is not expecting a love-match. There wasn’t much love in his parent’s marriage and so he decides the best he can hope for is a help-mate.

He goes about meeting each mail-order bride and assessing them to see which one would work out for him the best. Needless to say, I had fun with this part!

The following is an excerpt of one such meeting ~ (Hint: Katie is not the heroine!)

* * * * * * * * * *

The next afternoon he called on Katie O’Rourke. He’d heard good things about her from a few of his more gossipy patients. Miss O’Rourke had the start of lines near her pale blue eyes and a more generous girth than the other brides. He was immediately drawn to her pleasant smile and outgoing personality. He invited her to dine with him in the hotel’s restaurant.

“I’m surprised you asked for me, Dr. Graham. I imagined that you would be interested in a younger woman. After all, your first choice was Mara. She’s the youngest of us from the train.”

“There is something to be said for life experience in a good marriage, Miss O’Rourke. You and I are likely close to the same age and have far more in common.”

Rollie brought in two bowls of cabbage soup and two plates of scalloped ham and potatoes. He set them down before Nelson and Miss O’Rourke. “Hello, Doc. Ah…Miss Katie…I would appreciate your opinion on the meal.”

Nelson raised his brows. Miss Katie, was it? It wasn’t like Rollie to solicit anyone’s opinion, especially when it came to his wife’s cooking. Ever since Rollie married Sadie, he had said that she could do no wrong.

“Oh, Katie here is a fine cook,” Rollie said, catching Nelson’s expression. “She’s been teaching Sadie and me some secrets from her native Ireland. I wish she had been here for Saint Paddy’s Day.”
Across from him, Miss O’Rourke smiled. “You’re too kind, Mr. Austin. I’m sure this will be delicious.”

“Well, I’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts.” And with a quick rap on the table as goodbye, Rollie headed over to another table to speak with another couple.

She could cook! That was good news for Nelson’s purposes. He settled back to enjoy his meal, his opinion of Miss O’Rourke rising steadily.

“What is it you did before coming to Oak Grove?” he asked halfway through his soup.

“Ach. I suppose you might think that I was married before, seeing as how I’m older than the other brides, but I haven’t had the pleasure.”

“It was on my mind,” he admitted. “I find it refreshing that you don’t make excuses. Sensible.”

“Well…it is what it is, isn’t it?”

She took a bite of ham and potatoes before continuing, “Ye see, I took care of my parents. First my ma fell sick, and it became my duty to do the cooking and cleaning and tending to my sisters. Then, a year after she passed, my da had an accident on the river. He needed my help after that.”

“What about your sisters? Did they help?”

She shook her head. “They married off as fast as you can say Christopher Columbus. First Bridget and then Susan. I’m glad of it. They have bonny husbands and they are happy.”

Another mental check went down on the positive side his list. She thought of others before herself, and she’d cared for a sick mother and ailing father and hadn’t minded her duty. “Miss Katie,” he said. “The fact that someone hasn’t snatched you up bewilders me.”

A becoming blush rose up her apple cheeks. “It’s hoping I am that I’ll never have to care for another sickly person again, unless, of course it was my own. You see—I like to be out of doors and I’ve had so little chance to do that. A garden of my own to tend on my own little patch of land, and cooking what I grow. Could anything be better than that?”

Oh no. That didn’t sound like the life he had envisioned. “What about helping your husband?”

“I suppose it would depend on what he did. For instance, I do like animals you see. And as I said—growing things. Anything that is out of doors.”

“Well, what if he was a doctor?”

Her eyes widened. “Are you asking me for my hand?”

His heart nearly stopped. “No, no!” he said quickly. “Of course not. It’s much too soon.”

“Well, then, just what is it you are saying?”

“I’m obviously not doing a very good job of making myself clear. I meant to say, or to ask…” He was stumbling about like a fool! He took a deep breath and began again. He leaned forward. “I would expect my wife to work with me. In my office. Doing things such as a nurse would do.”

She snatched herself back from him as if burned. “I’m sorry, Doctor. I’ve done my duty as a daughter and I hope never to look on another hurt or dying man or woman in my life. It’s my heart, you see…”

“No. I don’t see,” he said perhaps a little too crossly. “You are experienced. You are obviously well suited for the type of work.”

“But I couldn’t bear to go through it again. Every person I tended would remind me of my ma or my da. I—couldn’t.” The last was said in a whisper as if she was remembering more than she wanted. Her eyes filled with tears. She stood. “I won’t be misleading you to think that I would.”

Others in the restaurant were watching the drama with growing interest. This was not how he anticipated the afternoon going. “Please, Miss O’Rourke. Sit down again. I would have you finish your meal.”

She stood there a moment, undecided.

“Believe me, I do understand. I’m disappointed, for myself, but I completely understand your position.” It was obviously too much for her gentle nature.

“Are we to be friends then?” she asked, her voice uncertain.

“That would suit me fine. A person can’t have too many friends.”

“To be sure,” she said, gave a relieved smile and slowly sat back down to finish eating.

* * * * * * * * * *

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt!

(I thought it fit well with Saint Patrick’s Day!)

Do you have a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition? Do you wear green?
To enter the giveaway, Let me know!
I will choose a winner tomorrow from among those who comment.

 

 

 

Raising her son alone, penniless Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him…even kidnap handsome Dr. Nelson Graham!

Nelson knows what he wants in a wife; she’s to be amiable, biddable and skilled in domestic chores. Gun-toting Sylvia Marks isn’t what he had in mind, but as the two are forced together he realizes she’s exactly what he needs!

* * * * * * * * *

To find out more please visit my website at http://www.kathrynalbright.com

To purchase, or read more reviews…

 

 

New (sort of) Release and Giveaway!!!

Click cover to order

Yesterday, my latest novella collection released. It’s always fun to see a new book launch into the world of readers, but this one took a bit of a crooked path.

First off, I have to say how much I love the lacy cover. It has such a feminine, antique feel. And this is one time where I believe keeping the cover model’s face a mystery is a good thing since there are three different stories with three different heroines in the volume.

Second, I love being in a collection with Jody Hedlund and Elizabeth Camden. Both of these ladies are colleagues and friends. In fact, Jody and I signed with Bethany House at the same time and have been close ever since.

Now for the crooked path part. Each of the three novellas in All My Tomorrows were previously published as e-singles. This is the first time they will be available in a print format.

My story is Worth the Wait, the second installment of the Ladies of Harper’s Station series. That particular series just ended this past January when my final novella in the series released as part of the collection – Hearts Entwined. Most of the time, my novellas come out as part of a print collection first, then break off into e-singles a few months after the print version releases. This time, however, the e-version came first, and more than a year passed between the digital release and the print version.

One of the benefits of this new collection, though, is the chance to bring Tori and Ben’s story to a group of readers who have not read it before. Many readers prefer print to digital books and simply won’t buy digital. Well, now you don’t have to! With the release of All My Tomorrows, every story in the Ladies of Harper’s Station series is now available in print. Yay!

Benjamin Porter has fallen hard for shopkeeper Victoria Adams. A savvy entrepreneur, Tori is the ideal partner for his business and his life. Too bad she’s against courtship. But Ben is patient, believing a life with Tori to be worth the wait.  When an accident strikes, however, what once was a chance at love may be lost forever.

And for those who might not have read any of the Harper’s Station books, here’s your chance to start at the beginning. I’ll be giving away two autographed print copies of the first full-length novel in the series – No Other Will Do. To be entered for a chance to win, simply leave a comment.

  • Which do you prefer to read – print or e-book?
  • Would you rather read novellas in collections or as stand alone stories?
  • What do you think of the All My Tomorrows cover?

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die

Tombstone is a step back in time!

Two years ago my husband and I traveled to Tombstone, Arizona. I’d been to the town once before but for some reason we never walked through the Bird Cage Saloon. Visiting the infamous building was on the top of my list this last time. I hope you enjoy my photos from this trip!

 Tombstone is located in southeastern Arizona and was the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Boothill Graveyard.

   

The town suffered two devastating fires: one in 1881 and again in 1882, but the Bird Cage Saloon survived both.The saloon was located in the heart of the red-light district on the corner of Allen Street and 6th Street. The photo below shows what the Bird Cage looked like before the outside was renovated. 

The building remained boarded up for the next fifty years before it reopened as a tourist attraction. The outside of the structure was remodeled to protect it from the elements. Inside the Bird Cage you will find the original wood floors that Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and the Clanton family all walked across. Even the mirrors behind the bar are original. The only part of the inside that has been renovated is the staircase leading to the basement.

 

  The Bird Cage served many purposes as listed on this sign.

The saloon was considered a “house of negotiable affection” and for $25 a gentleman could buy a bottle of whiskey and time with a lady in one of the 13 “cages” or cribs suspended above the gambling parlor. 

Twenty-fours hours a day the vaudeville circuit played on the stage.

 

 

 

The piano in the picture has sat in that same spot since 1881. The piano was the first to arrive in Tombstone and was part of a five-piece band that played in the saloon from 1881-1889.

The saloon also had a barber if any cowboy wanted to “spiff up” before visiting the ladies in the upstairs cribs. 

 

Curly Bill

Outlaw Curly Bill was recognized getting a haircut in this chair and was later tracked down and killed by Wyatt Earp. The table is the original table in the gaming parlor where Doc Holliday was often seen playing and dealing Fargo.

       

 

The Longest Poker Game Ever Played

The basement of the saloon is where the serious gambling took place and was the location of the longest poker game ever played in history. The game lasted eight years, five months and three days. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. There was a $1,000 buy-in and a continuous list of gamblers waiting to get into the game. The saloon employed runners to go out on the street and find the next player on the list when someone folded or left the game which averaged every 3 to 4 days. 

Below are pictures of the basement gaming area. I was surprised at how small it was. In the photos you’ll see the original service bar that served drinks to the gamblers as well as the men visiting the two bordello rooms in the basement. The mirrors behind the bar have hung in the same place since 1881. The whiskey keg and heating stove are originals and have been in the same place since the Birdcage closed its doors. The gaming tables, chairs, dealers box and money boxes all sit where they were during the “longest game.”

  

 

The Infamous Sadie Jo

One of Tombstones most famous soiled doves, Sarah Josephine Marcus, who went by the name of Sadie Jo & Shady Sadie worked at the Bird Cage in the basement. Below is the room where she and Wyatt Earp had their romantic liaisons while she was engaged to the then sheriff of Tombstone, John Harris Behan. At the time Wyatt lived in a covered wagon fifty feet away from the Bird Cage with his common law wife Mattie. Wyatt left Mattie for Josephine and Mattie was forced into prostitution in Prescott, AZ. and later committed suicide by overdosing on laudanum.

Haunted Bird Cage 

You know me and my fascination with ghosts…well, it is said that 27 ghosts inhabit the Bird Cage Saloon—the same number of people believed to have been killed in the building.

Employees say they often smell perfume and cigar smoke when working as well as seeing apparitions. Ghost tours are given at night, and one day I’d love to return to Tombstone and take the tour.

Before I sign off, I have to share one more photo of this little cowboy I came across on my trip to Tombstone.

Giveaway

To be entered into a giveaway for a Kindle copy of all three books in my series share this blog post and put the link where you shared it in the comment section! I’ll post the winner’s name on Saturday Oct 14th in the comment section of this blog post.

Until Next Time….Happy Trails!

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