Friday, March 28, 2014
Saloons of the Old West
Don't know exactly why, but I have a fascination for old west saloons. Okay, maybe I do know, but that's between me and the bartender. Just sayin'. My attraction to old saloons may also come from the fact that they seem to be the watering hole or social institution in movies and TV shows. if there was some excitement to be had, you can bet your lucky spurs it could be found in the town saloon.
The first establishment to be called a saloon was Brown's Hole near the borders of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah and catered to the trappers in the fur trading days.
But soon the west was littered with saloons. Most were hastily thrown together affairs like tents or lean-tos. As towns prospered, saloons became more like the traditional places we've become accustomed to today.
The whiskey served on those early years was mighty wicked stuff--made from raw alcohol, burnt sugar and a bit of chewing tobacco. (Yum) The clientele referred to this nasty brew by names such as Tangle Foot, Forty Rod, Tarantula Juice, Red Eye, or Coffin Varnish.
Also popular was "Cactus Wine" made from Tequila and peyote tea. Hmm, isn't peyote that weed used to get into some "visions"?
Muleskinner was another popular drink made with whiskey and blackberry liquor. Now this one doesn't sound too bad to me. But mostly, patrons of saloons drank straight whiskey like bourbon or rye. There was no such thing as cold beer. I can't imagine enjoying a tall glass of warm beer after riding a horse in the hot sun all day.
Saloons became entertainment centers over time, after a hard day of work or bank robbing a man could have a drink or several while he enjoyed a game of poker, Faro, 3-card-Monte or dice games.
Customers came from all walks of life, from miners to outlaws. But soldiers were not welcome. Western men had no respect for men who "policed the west"--nor did they welcome Civil War deserters. Women were also not welcome unless they were saloon girls.
Among these rough westerners there were codes of conduct to be maintained if a man wanted to get along well with others: only first names were used, no questions asked about anyone's past, and curiosity about anyone's personal business was considered rude. It was considered neighborly to buy the man standing beside you a drink or a man who confessed to being broke, but not a man who ordered a drink first, and then said he couldn't pay.
Saloon girls and dance hall girls were not prostitutes, although I always thought they were. These women were refugees from farms, widows without an income, and needy women down on their luck. Most of them earned $10 a week and commission on drinks--most of which were watered down. Men who mistreated saloon girls were doomed to become social outcasts.
Naturally, some saloons became famous for gunfights. Some of the more famous deaths that occurred in saloons were Wild Bill Hickok who was killed by Jack McCall while playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota. Bob Ford, the man who killed Jesse James, was shot down in his own saloon in Creede, Colorado. John Westley Hardin, sometimes referred to as the meanest man in the west, was shot from behind in a saloon in El Paso Texas.
Some of the most famous saloon owners were Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson.
Some famous saloons, some which are now converted to museums, are The Arcade in Eldorado, Colorado, The Long Branch (Remember Kitty and Matt Dillon met there often in Gun Smoke) in Dodge City, Kansas, The Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio, Texas, Desert John's Saloon in Deer Lodge, Montana, The Bird Cage Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona, and The New Atlas Saloon in Columbus, Montana.
THE LONG BRANCH Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas
In my Wyoming Wildings stories I often mention The Iron slipper Hotel which was a saloon by the same name in the first book, Harmonica Joe's Reluctant bride. The name was changed from saloon to hotel after Banjo inherited it from a madam and partnered with Lola Wilding. They remodeled it and turned it into a classy hotel and restaurant, but kept the name Iron Slipper. It's the center of big parties and balls in following stories. Just a bit of personal history here: the house my parents rented before they bought the house where my sister and I were raised, was a log cabin made from a carriage house on an old plantation. My dad built a fence of oak limbs and made a wooden sign with a horse shoe on it and my dad wrote the name The Iron slipper. I thought that was a great name for a saloon and a nice way to remember my dad.
Some of my Wilding stories at Prairie Rose Press are:
FLY AWAY HEART (a novella with Painted Pony Press)
HOLLOW HEART (in the Valentine Aanthology--HEARTS AND SPURS)
A HUSBAND FIR CHRISTMAS (in the Christmas Anthology)
Coming soon is the story about Juliet Wilding and Harry O'Connor in the summer anthology, LASSOING A BRIDE.
Also in revision are the two original books that started the series, HARMONICA JOE'S RELUCTANT BRIDE and FOR LOVE OF BANJO
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Because I write western historical romances set in the latter 19th century, I am interested in everything about the period in history. Yes, I am a history geek. Whenever we travel, I visit recreated historic villages and pioneer museums. Fortunately, there are quite a few of these well preserved homes withing easy driving distance from my own home.
Imagine raising a large family in a 10 x 12 log cabin. I complain because I don't have enough storage in our home. I can't imagine how difficult just finding a place for everyone to sleep must have been. Most of the cabins had a loft for the kids. With large families, the kids must have been laid out like sardines.
|Cabin and well|
Palo Pinto County, Texas
One of the places my family and I have visited is Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth, Texas. Homes from several counties have been moved there. Docents stationed at each home relate the history of that cabin. Hordes of school children visit, and there are occasional festivals to draw more visitors. One of the homes there is that of Isaac Parker, related to Cynthia Ann Parker, whose life was so tragic. But she's for another post.
|Isaac Parker cabin|
|Belding-Gibson Ranch, Palo Pinto County, Texas|
Smokehouse is on the left, original cabin on right.
Steps lead to the kitchen in the newer part of the house.
|A commode chair was a luxury. Usually they were more|
enclosed with a lid so it could be used as a chair and
doors and sides to conceal the chamber pot.
|Cabin interior at the Palo Pinto County|
|Masterson Ranch Line Shack|
Ranching Heritage Museum
Monday, March 24, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Have you heard of Victoria Woodhull? I had only a vague recollection of her being an early suffragette before coming across an article tucked inside a book purchased from a used bookstore. Who placed it there I have no idea, but this Parade Magazine article, printed in March 1998, astounded me.
Victoria Woodhull was far ahead of her time. The first woman owner of a Wall Street investment firm and founder of her own newspaper, she was an adviser to Cornelius Vanderbilt and spoke before Congress demanding women be given the vote. Most astonishing, she ran for President in 1872 against incumbent Ulysses S. Grant and newspaper mogul Horace Greely. Just think, that was 142 years ago – and we still haven’t had a woman president.
On top of all that, Victoria was a psychic, or claimed to be. Being a firm believer in such God-given gifts, when I read that about her, I had to find out more. From young childhood, she was exploited by her father in his carnival show as a clairvoyant and fortune-teller. She was able to recall past events and predict future ones, could find missing objects and people, and supposedly cured afflicted individuals. She was also said to communicate messages from the dead.
Raised in squalor, beaten and starved by her father, with little or no education, Victoria always claimed to be guided by spirits, one of whom told her she would “rise from poverty one day to become ruler of the nation.” Perhaps that’s why she ran for President. Obviously she didn’t win, but she did “set America on its ear” proclaims the 1998 article.
In her book Other Powers – The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull, author Barbara Goldsmith says of Woodhull’s time, “If a married woman worked, her wages were given directly to her husband. She could not dispose of her property upon her death. If she divorced, she automatically forfeited custody of her children. Women could not enter universities, law schools or medical schools. They could not serve on juries, and they could not vote.
“Most significantly, women had no control over their own bodies: There were no laws to protect them from physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or fathers, although some states stipulated the size of the objects that might be used to inflict discipline. They had no right to deny their husbands sexual access.”
Good grief! No wonder Victoria Woodhull preached for the “. . . emancipation of woman and her coming into control of her own body . . . the end of pecuniary dependence upon man . . . the abrogation of forced pregnancy . . . “ and more.
For those of us who read and write romances set in the Old West, it behooves us to keep in mind the great difference between women’s circumstances then and now. We like our heroines to be capable of standing up for themselves, but the harsh reality is that they often had little or no say in what their husbands, fathers or other men decreed. Which is not to say there weren’t women who defied convention and men who respected their opinions, even loved them for their independent ways. My kind of heroes!
From Darlin’ Irish:
Captain David Taylor is an obstinate Texan who’s determined not to get involved with a hot-tempered colleen. She might make his blood run hot but he’s certain she doesn’t have the stuff to make a good frontier wife. It takes almost losing her to make him admit he’s wrong.
From Dashing Irish:
Tye Devlin feels an instant attraction to a gun-toting Texas cowgirl and she to him, but he’d rather walk away than allow her to stand with him against his enemies. However, the lady has a mind of her own. If she has to hogtie him, she’ll teach him two heads, two hearts and two guns are stronger than one.
Half-breed cowboy Choctaw Jack may need help from a timid white girl with a healing touch, but he has no intention of letting her into his heart, for he treads a dangerous line between the white and red worlds. She can’t walk it with him. Or can she?
Find these Texas Devlins books plus the prequel novella, White Witch, on these sites:
Also available as a boxed set: Texas Devlins 4 Book Bundle
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Sarah McNeal and I are swapping our blog dates this month until she can get her computer restored, so I wanted to let y'all know that at PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS and our other imprints, we are looking for some mighty fine writing from new authors as well as established, well-seasoned authors, and we have some very exciting projects coming up. Here are a few of them, but please visit our websites and contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about what's coming up!
PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS is open for submissions for stories for our summer anthologies in the historical western romance genre. As of now, two of the anthologies, LASSOING A BRIDE and COWBOY CRAVINGS have both been filled.
THERE ARE STILL AVAILABLE OPENINGS IN LASSOING A GROOM AND LASSOING A MAIL ORDER BRIDE!
LASSOING A BRIDE: This collection of stories will be sweet/sensual. The stories selected for this anthology will have to do with a summer wedding, or courtship leading up to a wedding—by a bride who might not be so willing in the beginning. How is her intended going to “lasso” her and woo her to be his bride? That’s what we want to know, too! Word count for each selection will be around 12K, more or less. We want you to tell a good story and not worry if you run over the word count by a few words. Spots are limited! ALL OPENINGS ARE FILLED IN THIS ANTHOLOGY.
LASSOING A GROOM: This collection of stories will be sweet/sensual. The stories selected for this anthology will have to do with a summer wedding, or courtship leading up to a wedding—by a groom who might not be so willing in the beginning. But as women all know, there’s more than one way to romance a man! Silken bonds and words of love can be just as binding as any lasso. Word count for each selection will be around 12K, more or less. We want you to tell a good story and not worry if you run over the word count by a few words. Spots are limited! OPENINGS ARE STILL AVAILABLE IN THIS ANTHOLOGY!
LASSOING A MAIL-ORDER BRIDE: This collection of stories will be sweet/sensual. The stories selected for this anthology will have to do with a summer wedding, or courtship leading up to a wedding—by a groom who needs a bride and is willing to order one by mail! What circumstances could lead to a man advertising for a bride, sight unseen—and a woman in such dire straits that she travels from her home and everything familiar to marry a man she doesn’t know? There are any number of situations that “might be”—and we’re waiting to see what can happen when love blossoms in the most unlikely circumstances! Word count for each selection will be around 12K, more or less. We want you to tell a good story and not worry if you run over the word count by a few words. Spots are limited! OPENINGS ARE AVAILABLE IN THIS ANTHOLOGY!
COWBOY CRAVINGS: This collection of stories will be spicy/hot. The stories selected for this anthology will definitely take place in the heat of the summer and will feature some hot western men—cowboys, outlaws, lawmen—who will make not only the heroine but the reader crave the happily-ever-after outcome that’s sure to happen! What’s not to love about these strong, tough heroes or bad boys finally getting what THEY crave—a good woman to love! Word count for each selection will be around 12K, more or less. We want you to tell a good story and not worry if you run over the word count by a few words. Spots are limited! ALL OPENINGS ARE FILLED IN THIS ANTHOLOGY!
SUBMISSIONS FOR ALL ANTHOLOGIES ARE DUE BY APRIL 15, 2014.
If you think you might have a story that would fit, please contact Cheryl at: email@example.com
MORE SUBMISSION CALLS? HERE THEY ARE--FROM TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS!
At TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS, we are always looking for submissions by talented new authors as well as seasoned authors who may have been in the business for a while! We publish all lengths of stories, from “single-sell” short stories to full-length novels, with the longer works being available in print, as well as e-book formats. From time to time, we also put out a call for submissions for short stories for themed anthologies.
This summer we have three anthologies we’re looking to fill, one for each of our age categories at TAP. TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS is an imprint of PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS. Please take a look at the specific submission calls below and see if one or more of these might be of interest to you or someone you know. We’re very excited about these collections! Please feel free to forward!
MIDDLE GRADE READERS—(Ages 9-12)
MY DOG CAN DO MAGIC!—Middle Grade Readers—(ages 9-12)
Do you have a good idea for a fantasy or sci-fi story about a dog? That’s what we’re looking for in this anthology for MIDDLE GRADE READERS (9-12). If you have a story that tugs at the heartstrings or shows the excitement and bond in a relationship between a boy or girl and their dog, we’d love to see it! The possibilities are endless: a stray dog becomes a young girl’s best friend – but he’s got “something special” about him; a young boy is given a dog…though what he really wanted was a horse—or so he thought! These are just a couple of ideas, but your imagination is boundless with what “could be”. Dogs are magical anyhow, but in this collection, these dogs have a true bit of magic they’re able to use now and then! What magic will your dog have? Can he speak like a human? Does he sense trouble before it happens? Does he hold the key to saving the world? We’d love to have a look! Spots are limited! Please send a cover letter and blurb along with your submission.
SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: May 1, 2014
WORD COUNT GUIDELINES: 8K-10K
SUBMIT TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUNG ADULT (Ages 13-17)
THIS SUMMER STORM—Young Adult—(Ages 13-17)
We’re looking for stories about summer storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning—anything nature can throw our way. Maybe your characters are trapped at sea during a squall; maybe they’re having to deal with a violent tornado and its aftermath. How will they cope?
But storm stories can also be about emotional storms—storms that come from family upheaval and changes that affect the characters and facilitate the need for resolution of some kind, or at least, the first steps of resolution.
Whichever kind of storm you choose to write about, we are anxious to see it! Please send a cover letter and blurb along with your submission. Keep in mind that these stories will be set in contemporary times.
SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: May 1, 2014
WORD COUNT GUIDELINE: 10K-12K
SUBMIT TO: email@example.com
NEW ADULT (Ages 18-24)
IT COULD HAPPEN—New Adult—(Ages 18-24)
Summer love happens in the most unlikely places, to the most unlikely people. This anthology will be a collection of stories about characters that fall in love under odd circumstances. The young college girl who falls for a cruise ship entertainer; or a chauffeur, who falls for the daughter of his millionaire boss. It could be as simple as an odd coincidence, a stray glance or being caught in a summer downpour that sets the story in motion.
Common theme in all stories will be a photograph. Example: maybe your heroine is a celebrity of some kind and a photograph of her is on the front page of the paper; or maybe your hero sees a photograph on the heroine’s wall that was taken with her older brother—whom he mistakenly believes to be his “competition”. The photograph can play a major role or be mentioned in passing—it’s up to you however you want to use the photograph YOU imagine! It can play any part in this unlikely love story.
We are excited about this collection for a recently-recognized readership—new adults—ages 18-24. We’re anxious to see how your characters fall in love—and what they do about it! Please send a cover letter and blurb along with your submission. Keep in mind that these stories should be set in contemporary times.
SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: May 1, 2014
WORD COUNT GUIDELINE: 10K-15K
SUBMIT TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITES:
PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS www.prairierosepublications.com
TORNADO ALLEY PUBLICATIONS www.tornadoalleypublications.com
PAINTED PONY BOOKS www.paintedponybooks.com
FIRE STAR PRESS www.firestarpress.com