Tuesday, June 30, 2020

EVERYBODY IS LISTENING TO AUDIBLES! by Charlie Steel

AUDIBLES
If you can't do it yourself, hire an expert!  That's what I had my publisher do.  I read that Audibles were doing well and everyone was listening.  So I had two made.  One of CORNELIUS GOES WEST, and One of DESERT HEAT, DESERT COLD AND OTHER TALES OF THE WEST.  The hired professional narrator did a good job.  A narrated story, if done well, enhances a story.  I encourage all fellow writers to give it a try.  It costs a bit, and you may have to shop around, but it is well worth it.  And, they appear to be selling.

EVERYBODY IS LISTENING TO AUDIBLES! Here are 5 hours and 49 minutes of some of the most original and well written stories you'll ever hear. Narrated by a professional for your listening pleasure. (Go to the link below and Click on AUDIBLE SAMPLE and listen.) Sandy, a man of the desert is severely beaten by two thieves and left without water, weapon, or boots. Follow him as he tries to walk some fifty miles, barefoot, and to the nearest water hole. And, with each step he plans on how he will stop the thieves from hurting others ever again.
https://www.amazon.com/Desert-Heat-Cold-Other-Tales/dp/B086XHT1X6/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid&sr&fbclid=IwAR1kKVjC-IQZod95pc_o3m-64P6wy4vbfFsHGqDrFJ7Hq_eEWvYP6rcEhws


Thursday, June 25, 2020

A CARING SURGEON

THE DOCTOR'S BAG

the blog about the medicine and surgery of yesteryear




Dr Keith Souter aka Clay More





SURGEON BENJAMIN HOWARD - a caring surgeon

Some people know exactly what they want to do in life. Benjamin Douglas Howard decided early in life that he wanted to be a missionary and make  difference to many. Although he never actually achieved this he did travel around the world and made a difference to many lives as a surgeon.

He was born in 1836 in Chesham in England, the fourth of five children. Both parents died early and he and a brother were brought up and schooled in the town. Upon leaving he worked as a decorator in Luton, about twenty-five miles away.


Benjamin Douglas Howard (1836-1900)

At the age of 17 years he emigrated to America and began studies in medicine at Williams College in Massachusetts. His intention was to become a medical missionary. He did not complete his studies, however, but changed direction and medical institution, qualifying  from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1858.

Having read Uncle Tom's Cabin and been deeply moved by it he moved to Missouri and obtained a position as a clerk in a slave market in order to understand how such an inhumane  system could operate. Horrified by what he saw he  used his position and became actively  involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to Canada. When he was discovered he was forced to flee for his life.

Civil War 

In May 1861 he was commissioned as Assistant Surgeon in the 19th Regiment of the New York Volunteers, later known as the Third New York Light Artillery. In August he joined the Army of the Potomac.

During the Battle of Antietam in 1862 he was called upon to treat General Israel Richardson, who was mortally wounded, and also Major General Joseph Hooker, who was wounded in the foot while standing up in his stirrups.

From 1861 he had started operating on abdominal wounds using what he described as hermetic sealing. This involved closing the wound with sutures, then covering the wound too seal it. He was  impressed with the results and thought that by applying the same method to chest wounds he could save many lives.

In 1863 he was acting director of the Department of the Ohio. He wrote a letter to Surgeon General William Hammond advocating treatment for chest wounds using his method of hermetic sealing.  This involved closing the wound with steel sutures then overlaying it with layers of linen and lint, soaked in collodion, to effectively produce a hermetic seal.

One of the problems with chest wounds is that they can produce a sucking injury.  This means that as the patient breathes, air is sucked into the chest cavity through the wound. The increasing air inside the thorax but outside the lungs  then produces extreme breathlessness as the lungs start to collapse.

The operation  was controversial, but proved very popular with a lot of surgeons, since the immediate dyspnoea (shortage of breath) was relieved. Patients were operated on immediately, then sent back down the line to recover.

However, partly because he did not fully understand the mechanism of sucking injuries, and since the germ theory of disease was as yet unknown, it was subsequently found that the operation had a high mortality rate. Post mortem examinations found that many patients developed lung abscesses or empyema, where pus accumulates in the chest.

The Howard Ambulance

Howard also developed a field ambulance that greatly improved the transport of wounded soldiers. It was well sprung with cushioned seats and compartments for water and medical supplies.  Its lower-able flaps made the moving in and out of stretchers much more comfortable for the wounded.



These ambulances were economical to build and the design was taken up by other countries including the French Army after the war. They did, however, require four horses to draw them and the design was later superseded by lighter ambulances. 

Visiting Professor and Artificial Respiration

After the war Howard took up the post of Professor of Surgery in New York and also visiting professorships in Ohio and Vermont.  His ideas were much in  vogue and he was invited to lecture in Europe and Africa. 

In 1871 he wrote a paper The Direct Method of Artificial Respiration, or the Treatment of Persons  Apparently Dead from Suffocation by Drowning or from Other Causes.

He put this into practice in New york, training lay people as well as medical professionals and it was taken up across the USA. 

In the 1880s he returned to England for a time and was instrumental in establishing the London Ambulance Service. 

Then in the June 18, 1881 issue of the British Medical journal,(BMJ) he wrote an updated paper The Direct Method of Artificial Respiration for the Treatment of the drowned, Still-birth, etc. It is illustrated with likenesses of himself demonstrating the technique. 





Prison Research

In the 1880s and 18902 he turned his attention to prisons and the treatment of inmates. This led to research visiting prisons in  England, Europe, Russia and the USA. He wrote two books Life with Trans-Siberian Savages, published in 1893 and Prisoners of Russia: A Personal Study of Convict Life in Sakhalin and Siberia, published posthumously in 1902.

He lived in New York until 1898, but moved to New Jersey where he died from liver disease in 1900. He made his mark in life as a doctor, if not as the missionary that he had intended to be in his early life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

THE LAKE COUNTY WAR IN COLORADO

Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Sharing again.

Nathrop, Colorado - Wikipedia
Church in Nathrop, Colorado
Wikipedia
The Lake County War, full of vigilantes, traveling preachers, judges, criminals, and chaos. To this day the true story isn't fully known. Into this mix is Charles Nachtrieb, an early settler in the area. While I knew of the Lake County War, I was unaware of Nachtrieb until research on his daughter, Dr. Josephine Dunlop, brought his story to my attention.

Mr. Nachtreib, born April 20, 1833, in Germany, arrived in the Lake County area around 1859. He was a candidate from Lake County to the convention to admit Colorado as a state in 1865, which was approved by the voters. Although a constitution was adopted, President Andrew Johnson rejected the petition in 1866. (Colorado was not admitted as a state until 1876, becoming known as the Centennial State)

In addition to having a business along with being postmaster in Nathrop, Colorado, Nachtrieb also owned land in Gunnison County where his large ranch was located. (Nathrop is an Anglicized version of Nachtrieb). He is also credited with having the first grist mill west of the Mississippi.

In 1879, Nachtrieb, along with Otto Mears and Issac Gothelf filed article of incorporation with the state for the Poncho (Poncha), Marshall and Gunnison toll road. The toll road was expected to cost twenty-five thousand dollars and run from Poncha Creek in Chaffee County to the Gunnison River. Apparently, there was a verbal agreement between Mears and Nachtrieb that Mears would build from the Gunnison side to the top of Poncha Pass and Nachtrieb would build from the Lake County side. This arrangement came about due to the above-mentioned grist mill and the farming, especially wheat, along with the higher price paid in places like Oro City and other mining communities in the area.

Otto Mears - Wikipedia
Otto Mears
Wikepedia
On October 3, 1881, according to newspapers of the time, a man named Burt (Bert) Remington shot and killed Nachtrieb in his store. Some reports say he was a disgruntled former employee. Remington escaped and the search was on. On Thursday, October 6, 1881, Governor Pitkin issue a proclamation and offered a reward of $300 dollars for the arrest of Remington. Nachtrieb was forty-nine at the time of his death.

How does the Lake County War fit into all of this?

In 1874 Elijah Gibbs and George Harrington quarreled over property, fencing, and water. About fifteen days later, one of Harrington's outbuildings was set of fire and when he went to deal with the blaze he was shot and killed. Due to the quarrel, Gibbs had with Harrington, he was the prime suspect. Tempers and gossip fueled the incident and soon Gibbs was marked for a lynching. Cooler heads prevailed and they were bound over for trial. With emotions running so high, a change of venue put the trial in Denver. There Gibbs and his hired hand McClish were found not guilty. McClish left the area, but Gibbs returned to his home in Lake County (Now part of Chaffee County).

Things appeared to return to normal, but in January of 1875 the vigilantes got a warrant for assault, for the first quarrel, and went after Gibbs. Gibbs, along with others made a run over South Park and ended up in Colorado City. The sheriff secured warrants and followed them to Denver. Gibbs and his cohorts left the Denver hotel, where the sheriff allowed them to stay, due to implied lynching stories put out by the papers in Denver.

Collegiate Peaks
Photo property of the author
At the end of January of that year, the Committee of Safety organized in response to Gibbs and the Regulators he was purported to be a part of. This Safety Committee, composed of most of the prominent men in the region, including Nachtrieb, intended to rid Lake County of all suspected murderers, cattle thieves, land grabbers, and any other undesirables. In following through with their agenda, the flames grew greater. Anyone coming into the area was questioned, and if they were determined to be 'undesirable' they were asked to leave. One of the men questioned was Judge Elias Dyer, son of the itinerant preacher 'Father' Dyer. He took exception to being told to resign when he told his inquisitors he believed Gibbs was not guilty. Dyer eventually returned to the area and while holding court was shot and killed. There were those who said Dyer, by his actions, brought about his own demise, while others said the opposite.

Judge Dyer, in writing his thoughts in the matter, indicated that the man who killed Charles Nachtrieb was the nephew of Mr. Harrington, the man whose murder started the whole affair. To this day, the who, whats, and wherefores are hidden in time and memories. Story after story offers conflicting information. In the end, was Charles Nachtrieb killed over 'wages' or the 'war'. We may never know. The Lake County War, a year-long, impacted the lives of so many. Like the death of Charles Nachtrieb, we may never know the whole true story.

What I've shared is just a small part of the story of Charles Nachtrieb and the Lake County War. For more on the War, the book by Don and Jean Griswold, “History of Leadville and Lake County Colorado” is a good place to start. There is additional information by Gayle Gresham, whose great great grandfather was also involved, in the book “Rush to the Rockies” published by the PPLD as part of the Regional History Series.


Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Charlie Steel Author BLOGS

Joke.
I talked to an expert at the Antiques Roadshow PBS. The expert was reluctant but I finally got him to appraise me. He said I was old and only worth $88.00. He did say, if I was a Chest of Drawers, I would be worth more.

Friday, June 19, 2020

What's the Score? Seven Men From Now by Henry Vars and By Dunham


So far in my series of film score reviews for Western Fictioneers, I haven’t strayed too far away from the familiar herd of celebrated LPs that populated record store stables during the heyday of wild west cinema.

But there’s a lot of good music out there that —to the best of my knowledge—was never released on vinyl.

With the advent of inexpensive CD production, a variety of companies have gathered some of it together. Saunter over to the wild web, and you’ll find officially licensed ensembles riding herd beside bootleg outlaw tracks.

But today I’m concerned by that lost dogie of the plains. The rambunctious theme or haunting melody never gathered into the remuda and, like a stray yearling, wanders through the wilderness without a brand.

Consider the score for Seven Men From Now (1956). In The Films of Randolph Scott by Robert Nott, the author writes, “Henry Vars’ theme music is hauntingly beautiful and should be better known as a classic Western film soundtrack, and I agree.

Henry Vars (1902 - 1997) was a Polish immigrant. A friend of John Wayne, he composed dozens of film scores, including 50 in Poland and more than 60 in the United States. Known as the Irving Berlin of Poland, he wrote symphonies, theatrical revues, and a piano symphony.

Seven Men From Now stars Randolph Scott with Gail Russell, and Lee Marvin in what would be the first of his revered seven film Ranown series with director Budd Boetticher. Produced by John Wayne’s Batjack production company, it had access to any number of established composers. Elmer Bernstein, Dmitri Tiomkin, and Ray Webb scored films for Wayne. Vars too would score five of seven Batjac films in which Wayne didn’t appear. Seven Men From Now was the first.



Vars penned the title song with By Dunham (1910 - 2001), an American songwriter who also wrote the title song to Wayne’s McLintock. Together, Vars and Dunham would go on to write together and, in 1963, their most famous song was released — the theme to the movie Flipper.

When Seven Men From Now was released, Variety opined that “Henry Vars’ score goes with the story mood, as does the title he wrote with Dunham. Only a snatch of another song, ‘Good Love,’ is heard.”

Much of the soundtrack is constructed around “Good Love” and the “Seven Men” title music, and its unfortunate that it has never been released.

In this case, unlike some of the more famous scores, the best way to hear it is to take in a viewing of the entire film.

After growing up on a Nebraska farm, Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri. His western crime fiction captures the fleeting history and lonely frontier stories of his youth where characters aren’t always what they seem, and the windburned landscapes are filled with swift, deadly danger. In 2016, Richard roped the Spur Award for short fiction given by Western Writers of AmericaRead more at www.RichardProsch.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

MY ANCESTRY JOURNEY--by Cheryl Pierson

Guess what I did on Mother’s Day? I bought MYSELF something I have been wanting for a very long time—a six-month subscription to Ancestry . com! I’ve always wanted to do that, but never did because I just knew I wouldn’t “have time” to use it…but guess what? You really DO make time for the things you love! Even if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes here and there, I always discover something I didn’t know.
I think of how my parents would have love to have had this technology and the ability to use it when they were living! There is such a huge network of people out there that are doing the same thing, and contributing what they have to share, so a person can amass a lot of knowledge in a short time!

A lot of family stories can quickly be proven…or DISproven!

I found out that my gr gr grandfather served in the Civil War for the Union in Missouri—I found his application for his pension! I learned that another couple of relatives never married—not until their children were all grown, married and had kids of their own! That was a shocker. But the marriage license is there to prove it.


I’ve used family history in my stories before on several occasions, but this is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have enjoyed this “journey” so much, so far, and look forward to all the things I’m going to find out (yes, if you do this, be prepared to be surprised and shocked) no matter what my discoveries might yield.

I learned that my gr gr grandfather (the Civil War soldier) also was married three times and had thirteen children! Someone else I don’t know had posted a picture of him on her family tree. I actually got to see him at a luncheon he attended with four other Civil War veterans. In the picture below, he’s on the far right, back row.



I have not started on my mother’s side of the family yet—there is so much I’m learning about my dad’s side right now—I don’t want to get them “mixed up” and believe me, I’m going to have to draw up a family tree so I can actually see it all in black and white to get it straight!

One thing that is unusual is that my gr gr grandmother has a discrepancy in her dates of death. I also read in an obituary someone wrote that she was the daughter of a “Cherokee man and his half-blood wife” –now there is a description for you! In the picture below, George Washington Casey is seen holding one of his granddaughters.


I’m a novice at this, but it’s fun to learn—and I’m sure I’ll come across some more skeletons in the closet here and there…maybe some things I can incorporate into my own stories!

Here's a fun fact: When my son was born, we named him Casey. But...I had never had any clue that "Casey" was a family name, or that my ancestors carried that last name. I had not started my "ancestry journey" yet at that point. Coincidence? Or...some other connection? I've often wondered. When a relative told me she was glad I'd named Casey a "family name" I have to admit, I got chills. I had not had any idea.
Here's my Casey in a pic taken last year. It's hard to make out any family resemblance from the poor quality of the pics of G.W. Casey, except that they both have beards! LOL


Do any of you use Ancestry or any other site like that? Have any of you discovered some interesting facts about your long-ago families that you didn’t know? I’m having such fun with this!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Western Fictioneers Announces the Peacemaker Award Winners




(For Westerns Published in 2019)


BEST WESTERN NOVEL:



NICKEL’S LUCK by S.L. Matthews (Cinch Ranch Publishing)

Finalists:

YESTER’S RIDE, C.K. Crigger (Five Star Publishing)
THIS NEW DAY, Harlan Hague (Graycatbird Books)
TWO THOUSAND GRUELING MILES, L.J. Martin (Wolfpack Publishing)
THE LILY OF THE WEST, Kathleen Morris (Five Star Publishing)

BEST FIRST WESTERN NOVEL:



THE LILY OF THE WEST by Kathleen Morris (Five Star Publishing)

Finalists:


A CROW TO PLUCK, Bob Giel (Oghma Creative Media)
SWEET TWISTED PINE. Lori R. Hodges (Outskirts Press)
THE SURVIVAL OF MARGARET THOMAS, Del Howison (Five Star Publishing)
UNFORSAKEN, John Dwaine McKenna (Rhyolite Press)


BEST SHORT FICTION:



“Leaving the Lariat Trail”, John D. Nesbitt (JOHN D. NESBITT WESTERN DOUBLE, Sundown Press)

Finalists:


“The Assassin”, Patrick Dearen (HOBNAIL, Five Star Publishing)
“Return to Laurel”, John D. Nesbitt (HOBNAIL, Five Star Publishing)
“Aces and Eights”, Michael R. Ritt (CONTENTION, Five Star Publishing)
“Major Reno’s Romance”, Susan Salzer (SADDLEBAG DISPATCHES, SUMMER 2019, Oghma Creative Media)

Western Fictioneers would like to thank the judges for the excellent job they did and the long hours they devoted to reading the submissions.




My 10 favorite Louis L’Amour novels by Kaye Spencer #louislamour #westernfictioneers #westerns



It seems altogether fitting and proper to remember Louis L'Amour for my June article, since June 10, 1998 was, sadly, the day he passed away. There are any number of biographies about him on the Internet, so I won't include a bio here, but his website has entertaining reading about him: Louis L'Amour – Website  http://www.louislamour.com/

The first book of his I read was Last Stand at Papago Wells during my junior high years (c. 1966 – 1968). Long about 10th grade, my literature teacher looked down her nose at his books, because they were so far below my reading level that I wasn't challenging my brain or expanding my literary knowledge. We agreed to disagree, because I was reading plenty of challenging books: The Godfather, Catch-22, Lost Horizon, The Man in the Iron Mask, Pride and Prejudice... You get the idea.

When she finally admitted she'd never read any of his novels, I challenged her to read my favorites at the time (five or so – don’t recall which ones). She agreed if I'd read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

I read War and Peace and went on to read other books by Russian authors. While she didn't love Louis L'Amour, she admitted for reluctant readers, especially boys, his books had value.

So, Win-Win. She never openly criticized my choice of books again.

This is my commemorative Louis L'Amour coin (front and back).

 
Front Inscription: Louis L'Amour

Back Inscription: The Dream is in the mind – Realization in the Hand – Act of Congress 1981
(The image is a mountain in the background with a miner/frontiersman walking ahead of his pack mules.)

 Here are my Top 10 favorite Louis L'Amour books.

  1. Last Stand at Papago Wells (1957)
  2. The Key-Lock Man (1965)
  3. The Man Called Noon (1970)
  4. Down the Long Hills (1968)
  5. How the West was Won (1962)
  6. Conagher (1969)
  7. Brionne (1968)
  8. The Sackett Brand (1965)
  9. Sitka (1957)
  10. The Haunted Mesa (1987)



What are your favorite Louis L'Amour books? If you have a Louis L'Amour anecdote or story, it would be great if you'd share your story in the comments or leave a comment on the Facebook post of this article.


Until next time,

Kaye Spencer



Stay in contact with Kaye—












Friday, June 12, 2020

National Beef Jerky Day

June 12 is National Jerky Day. Celebrate by gnawing on a hunk of preserved meat!



Jerky probably originated with some of the South American tribes. The Quechua tribe, ancestors of the Inca, created a similar product they called ch’arki (or charqui). Ch’arki was made by salting and spicing the meat from game animals, then drying it in the sun or over a fire for several days. When the Spanish conquistadors were shown this method of preservation they eagerly adopted it. 

Smoking meat wasn’t new, nor was the end product called ch’arki. It was the addition of the salt and spices beforehand that made this food special. The practice spread as the Spanish colonized the American Southwest. It became a staple foodstuff for pioneers and cowboys.

Making your own jerky is fairly simple. Start with a cut of lean meat, preferably range- or grass-fed for better flavor. Flank steak is a good cut for jerky, as is London broil, rump roast or brisket. You can also use game meat like venison. You’ll need around five pounds of raw meat to make one pound of jerky.

Modern curing solutions add sodium nitrate to the salt water. This stabilizes the color and prevents the meat from becoming rancid. It also prevents the growth of bacteria. This curing solution is mixed with what’s called the brine, which is a mixture of water, spices, sugars, salt, and phosphates. Common spices can include soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder and maybe even monosodium glutamate (MSG). Worchester sauce or teriyaki sauce can be added. You can try different types of sugar, like sucrose, dextrose, brown sugar, or dark corn syrup. And flavored salts can give your brine a kick. Try hickory or onion flavor. Some people add a flavoring known as liquid smoke, which is simply smoke dissolved in water. This will give your jerky a smoky flavor even if you’re not actually using an open fire. You can even add brandy or sherry if you wish.

If your butcher won’t or can’t slice the meat for you, put it in the freezer until it is firm, but not solid. If you press on it, it should give just a little. Using a good serrated knife, cut against the grain as thinly as possible (about 1/8 of an inch thick). You may want to cut the initial chunk of meat in half before you start cutting, then put the other half back in the freezer so it will be firm enough for you to cut up.



Mix your marinade (you can Google different recipes until you find one that sounds good to you) and pour it into a sealable container. Add the meat slices one at a time, making sure they’re fully submerged. Place the container into the refrigerator and leave it for five or six hours, shaking and rotating every thirty minutes.

If you’re actually drying over a smoky fire, it’s going to take at least eight sunny hours to make jerky. Most people use a dehydrator nowadays. Drain the meat on a rack before you add it to the dehydrator. Some people like to totally dry it off, but that will take some of the flavor away. If your dehydrator comes with a catch-tray (or a fruit-jerky tray), place that on the bottom to collect any drippings.

Arrange the meat slices as close together as possible without actually touching one another. If they touch, they’ll stick together and that may inhibit air flow. Set the dehydrator on its highest temperature and plan on a drying time of four to eight hours (depending on the thickness of the meat).

Before storage, go through your jerky and cut it into more manageable pieces. You can also use kitchen shears and snip off any fat that got through your initial check. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. Preheat to 175 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over the foil. Dry the beef with paper towels and arrange on the rack as in the dehydrator (not touching). Bake for three or four hours until dry and leathery. Use your kitchen shears to cut into smaller slices.



Enjoy your jerky. If you use one of the modern techniques, spare a thought for your characters, who’d have been sitting beside a smoky fire for eight to twelve hours. Happy Jerky Day!

J.E.S. Hays
www.facebook.com/JESHaysBooks

Thursday, June 11, 2020

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU'VE READ ABOUT, OR ONE YOU'VE CREATED? by Cheryl Pierson

What a great question! I came upon this one when I was answering a questionnaire for another blog and thought it would be a fantastic question to expand on all by itself. Because who among us—writers, readers, or both—DOESN’T have a favorite fictional character?

And it changes, doesn’t it? When I was a little girl, I remember being enthralled with stories of the Color Kittens, Pippi Longstocking, and finally Nancy Drew. Later, heroines such as Kit Tyler—Elizabeth George Speare’s unforgettable character in THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND held my interest.

But I also loved the heroes, too—Hugh O’Donnell, THE FIGHTING PRINCE OF DONEGAL, and Robin Hood, fighting their way to freedom and justice for the people they served! And of course, I was a western lover even then. I was spellbound by Travis and Arliss, the brothers in Fred Gipson’s OLD YELLER, and the sequel, SAVAGE SAM.

Davy Crockett and Mike Fink were favorites, for a while, with books complete with pictures from the Disney series. I couldn’t find an image of the actual books I had, but I did find this one of the “stamp” book—which I also had!

GONE WITH THE WIND was my first “adult” book and I’d seen that movie, so I was enraptured by Scarlett O’Hara. Even at a young
age, the facets of her personality both on the screen and in the book fascinated me. How could she be “all” bad? She gave up so much to save her family…or did she? I still love to think about what a wonderful character Margaret Mitchell gave us to ponder.


The first romance book I ever read was SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers. I can’t tell you how that book changed my life in so many ways. I had never read a book that made me feel as if I was right there in the main character’s skin like I did with Ginny, the heroine. As soon as I finished that book, I turned around and read it again, and it’s on my keeper shelf to this day.
The hero of that book, Steve Morgan, is as hard as they come. But there is a place in his heart for Ginny that no other can fill, and she feels the same for him. I read this book close to 40 years ago, and those characters are still memorable today.

As far as characters I’ve written…all writers know that is nearly an impossible choice. Of course, the first book you ever wrote probably contains your favorite character(s)—even if that wasn’t the first book you ever published! They are your first loves, the reason you started writing in the first place.

The first book an author publishes holds an unforgettable place in their hearts, as well. Those characters were the ones that people were able to read about, to relate to, and to give the author feedback on.

The current book is one that is full of hopes, dreams, and promise—just like the ones before. Will people love your characters as much as you do, or will it flop?

Then there are the books that are “experiments”—maybe shorter, longer, or a different genre. How did others like those characters…but moreover, how did YOU like the characters you created?

My favorite male character I’ve created is one that was the “star” of my first book—the one that has never seen the light of day. I still have hopes and plans to rework it and get it out there, but it’s LONNNNNG. But Johnny Brandon is a man’s man, and he’s going to have his vengeance no matter what. Still…there’s room for love—though he is an unwilling participant in the beginning. As always, things have a way of working out for the best, but he kept me on my toes the entire time I was working on that manuscript, and he’s utterly unforgettable.

Probably the couple that were “the odd couple” for me were U.S. Deputy Marshal Jaxson McCall and runaway debutante, Callie Buchanan in THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN. Jax is hired “on the side” to go after Callie who has run away from her stepfather, a prominent socialite in Washington, D.C. She is headed west, into his familiar territory. He tracks her easily enough, but when he catches up with her, he realizes that his instincts were right—there’s something terribly wrong with her stepfather’s “worry” about her disappearance. Their relationship becomes something neither of them expected, and when Callie’s stepfather comes after them both, Jax realizes he’s got to pull out all the stops to keep Callie safe from the man who is evil to the core.

But Callie has lost so much in her life, she’s determined she’s not going to lose Jax—or her life. She surprised me several times, and I loved the way she grew as a character and found her own strength and bravery as time went by.

What’s your favorite fictional character you’ve read, or one you’ve created?

Here's the buy link at AMAZON for THE HALF-BREED'S WOMAN!
https://www.amazon.com/Half-Breeds-Woman-Cheryl-Pierson/dp/1496128966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503888273&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Half+Breed%27s+Woman

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

JUMPING OFF - Mississippi River Towns

Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author
In the expansion of the West the journeys began somewhere. Some people sailed to the West Coast, others came from Mexico while others came West across the plains. In order to reach those plains,  Rocky Mountains, and the coast they had to cross the Mississippi River. Additionally, commerce and travel in the early days depended on waterways. So important was this route that canals were built to connect various rivers and bodies of water.

This post will look at some of those river towns, especially between the years of 1800-1860 in the states of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

Most know of St. Louis, now known as the 'Gateway to the West', but there were other towns that had their fair share of river traffic.

Galena, Illinois, in the northern part of the state, is located on the Fever River which was deep enough for steamboats to navigate when they began running along the upper Mississippi. The town began because of lead. Founded in 1818, it was an important port and trading post until the Civil War. On a side note, General Grant arrived in 1860 lived there until the war. He returned in 1879 and remained until 1881.

Nauvoo, Illinois, is best known for the jumping-off point of the Mormans (LDS) on their westward trek to Salt Lake City. The town, however, had other iterations being located on the northern part of the Des Moines Rapids. Since the rapids were unpassable with heavy ladened boats, they were offloaded downriver in another river town, Warsaw, Illinois, and reloaded near Nauvoo to continue their northern journey.

Kaskaskia, Illinois - Wikipedia

Kaskaskia, Illinois, has a unique history. When the current site of the town was founded, and at one time the territorial capital of Illinois, the Mississippi River was three miles away. By 1881, when the Mississippi flooded yet again, the town found itself an island on that mighty river, for the channel along the river had changed.

LeClaire, Iowa, has a long history, located where the Mississippi makes a turn to the West. It is also near the beginnings of rapids in that area. It also had a boatyard and built a number of riverboats.

Guttenberg, Iowa, like Galena, Illinois had lead which was mined. There was also a ferry, and later it became a rail town serving the farms in the area.

Fort Madison, Iowa, began life as a fort, the spot having been recommended by Zebulon Pike during his expedition to locate the headwaters of the Mississippi in 1805.

Hannibal, Missouri, is probably best known as the home town of Samuel Clemmens (Mark Twain) and Margaret Tobin (Margaret 'Molly' Brown). It was primarily a steamboat landing and after the Civil War, a landing for the logging taking place in Minnesota and Michigan.

1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes Overview from Otto W. Nuttli (1974)
1811-1812 Overview of the New Madrid Earthquake (USGS photo)
New Madrid, Missouri, was founded in 1789. Probably best known as the center of the earthquakes that rocked the Mid-West during 1811-12. There was also a Civil War battle on an island near the town, known as the Battle of Island Ten.

Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, was part of a series of settlements by the French during the early to mid-1700s. It was a river port, shipping iron ore, marble, and granite from the mines in Missouri.

There are many stories towns in this tri-state area. Below are links for those who want to just spend some time learning about the Mississippi River and the towns whose life and death are closely tied together by this waterway.

https://mississippivalleytraveler.com/illinois-river-towns/
https://mississippivalleytraveler.com/iowa-river-towns/
https://mississippivalleytraveler.com/missouri-mississippi-river-towns/

Other resources you might like:
"The History of Warsaw Illinois" by Brian Stutzman
"Cahokia- Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi" by Timothy R. Pauketat
"On Shaky Ground: The New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812" by Norma Hayes Bagnall

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
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