Sunday, October 30, 2011

C.S. Kunkle, Artist of the Macabre

Wild Bill by C.S. Kunkle

Copyright © 2009-2011 C.S. Kunkle, Ann Charles, Jacquie Rogers

Romancing the West celebrates Halloween with talented artist C.S. Kunkle!

Mr. Horror Art himself is certainly a perfect fit for our Halloween festivities.  Author Ann Charles loves his work because, um, she nagged him to create her book cover art, and illustrate her books as well.  To prove she was absolutely right to nag, here are the book covers, all by C.S. Kunkle.  One lucky Romancing The West commenter will win an autographed print copy of Optical Delusions in Deadwood by Ann Charles, which he illustrated and of course he also created the awesome cover art.

Book Covers by C.S. Kunkle
RTW: Tell us about your beginning years and education?
CSK: As far as education, just grade school and high school art class.  After that, it was just a matter of developing my own style.  I messed around with just about every medium out there, thinking I would just stumble on to what would be my signature medium.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Ten years went by and I was still floundering.  I hadn’t improved, nor had I developed a style.  I had to decide if this was something I wanted to seriously pursue or if I was just wasting my time. So, I took a solid year and practically chained myself to my drawing table.  I would be drawing for 8 to 10 hours a day, if possible.  When I wasn’t at my day job, I was sitting at my table.
I found out two important things that year:
  1. I wanted to be an artist and draw/paint for a living.
  2. 
    Sword by C.S. Kunkle
    
  3. I was going to have to put in the time if I wanted to be great at it.
RTW:  What do you see as both the benefits and liabilities for artists of working with authors on cross-promotional projects?
CSK:  The benefit of cross promotion, as I see it, is it’s a win-win situation for both the author and the artist.  If someone really likes my work and sees I’m working with a specific author, maybe they buy the book to see my drawings, and read the book as well.  The liability, I don’t really want to think about, but I suppose egos could get in the way.

RTW: Do you have any advice for artists?
Werewolf by C.S. Kunkle
CSK: I watched an interview with writer/artist/director Clive Barker some years back, and something he said stuck with me. “No matter how strange or unusual an idea might be, put it on paper.”  I’ve done that ever since and have created some of my best work.

Just stay true to your art.  A lot of my drawings and designs are a bit on the morbid or creepy side.  I knew there were people out there that would enjoy them, so I stayed with that genre.  Now I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of my fan base, and I know it will continue to grow.
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Check out C.S. Kunkle at his website or on Facebook; or feel free to email him.   Even though he loves to draw creepy monsters, he’s really a nice guy. His art is available for sale (see website), and he also signs prints at Ann Charles’ booksignings.


 
Contest! 
One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of Optical Delusions in Deadwood by Ann Charles. Enjoy great cover art and a read, too! Please be sure to leave your email address when you comment; otherwise, we'll have to draw another winner.

Chicken Dinner: Gone Fishin'

Special thanks to Paty Jager for her articles this week.  Don't forget to stop by and pick up your Free Christmas book!

I'm having a blast at the Emerald City Writers' Conference this weekend so I don't have any cool links for you today, but Chicken Dinner will return with good stuff next Sunday. 

News Flash: Please make your nominations for Best Historical or Historical Fiction Blogs in 2011 by visiting the following site:

Historical Blogs: Fiction & Fact
http://historicalnovelblogs.blogspot.com/

Then send your choices, up to three, to mailto:hawthorne%40nanhawthorne.com with the subject line "Nomination." Include blog title and web address for each.  It would sure be nice if someone mentioned Romancing The West!

Deadline is December 1, 2011.
A blog will need at least two nominations to be included in the final voting in January 2012.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and to celebrate this fun day, we'll have an article by the awesome and talented Charles S. Kunkle, horror artist.  Scary stuff!

What's not scary at all was the review for Much Ado About Marshals from Cheyenne at Coffee Time Romance5 Cups!  "Jacquie Rogers creates a witty, delightful, and downright amusing book with impressive charming players."  Read the complete review.

Meantime, take it easy on the chocolate--no bellyaches allowed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bootmaking--It’s An Art


Copyright © 2011 Paty Jager

When I decided the hero in my Christmas novella would be a boot maker I found a local bootmaker who taught classes on how boots were made in the late 1800’s. I visited D.W. Frommer II’s boot shop and witnessed some of the steps and was able to sniff, feel, and see the tools, materials, and finished products.

Wooden lathes were used, one for the right foot and one for the left to form the two piece boot over. These were made to resemble a top customer’s feet or a certain size when the boots were custom made.

The two leather pieces, one the front, shin to toe, and the other the back, calf to heel were the main sections of the boot top. If ornamental stitching was applied, they used linen thread either in a loop or tulip design with either a machine or by hand, depending on what the boot maker had available to him.

Boots were constructed with inseaming and pegging.


Boots by
D.W. Frommer II
 The process started with tacking the sole to the lathe bottom and cutting the channel around the insole. This was called hoisting. The leather boot (the two sections sewn together) was soaked and then pulled over the lathe, pulling it tight.

4 yards of 8-10 strands of waxed linen thread were rolled or twisted together. This method was done by attaching one end to a nail on the workbench and rolling it across the boot makers knee until he made a fine point like a needle on one end. To keep the water from penetrating the seams, the thread was pulled across a sticky substance made of pine pitch. This made by cooking for twenty minutes pitch and bees wax or sperm oil. The liquid was poured into cold water and then pulled like taffy until it turned into a bronze sticky substance. This waxy substance sealed the holes and kept the thread from moving.

Boar’s bristles, the 3-4 inch long hair from the back of a boar’s neck were used as needles. The hair was split and the thread put through the split.

A curved awl was used to make the holes through the channel, welt, and sole for the stitching to go through. The holes are spaced 1/3” apart all the way around. The holes are then either sewn with a whip stitch or wooden pegs, much like match sticks ½” long and 1/8” wide and tapered at one end, were made of hard woods and pound into the holes through the layers to hold them in place. The pegs are ten to every inch. Some bookmakers will made patterns with the peg tops.

Paty Jager, Author
The outer sole is a quarter inch thick hardened or rolled leather. Work boots were usually pegged while dress boots were sewn.

The heel was made of layers of hardened leather made wet and pounded together either on a marble slab or hard wood base. This compressed the pieces together.

They started lining boots somewhere between 1870 and 1890. From start o finish a pair of boots takes around 40 hours depending on the drying times.

This is the information I discovered while researching my hero’s profession for Christmas Redemption a free book at Smashwords.

Learn more about Paty Jager:
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Paty Jager: How I found my Hero for Christmas Redemption

Jacquie, Thank you for allowing me to visit with you again on Romancing the West.

When I was approached to write a Christmas story to add to a historical western anthology, I’d just been reading Oregon Outlaws by Gary and Gloria Meier. A story in the book caught my attention, first because it happened in the county where I grew up and second it seemed like the perfect type of miracle story that went with the holiday.

Dave Tucker was a young man who grew up in Wallowa Valley and made friends with the wrong people. They talked him into helping them rob the First Bank of Joseph. During the get-a-way several, including Tucker (who lost a thumb and finger) were wounded and captured. Only one man with a money bag got away and was never caught.

Tucker pleaded guilty to bank robbery and was sentenced to seven years in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. He served over four years of his sentence working in the prison shops and mail office. Being a model prisoner he was released and returned to Wallowa Valley to face his family and friends and rebuild his life.

Twenty-seven years after his release from prison, Dave Tucker became the vice-president of the very bank he’d robbed.

This story intrigued me, so I set up a similar situation in my novella, Christmas Redemption. My hero, Van Donovan, was younger, fifteen and rebelling from a strict father. His job was the lookout for the robbery. Only one man was killed, a bystander, and the outlaws got away with the money leaving Van to go to prison. Which is another plot line in the story. ;)

Van doesn’t return and become the bank president, but he does return with a trade, boot making (which I’ll tell you about on Research Thursday here at Romancing the West), and to make amends with his family.


Paty Jager, Author

Only upon his return, Van learns the fate of the wife and daughter of the innocent man killed during the robbery. His guilty conscience pushes him to help the daughter, and he discovers the strong-willed young woman squatting in the building he purchased for his boot making shop is one and the same.

While Van is hardened from his belief his family never contacted him while he was in prison because they were disappointed him, he has a benevolent side that reaches out to anyone in need. And a toughness he learned from his father as well as defending himself in the prison.

This story started out to be in an anthology that became too big to be included, and I have it available now until January 1st in ebook through Smashwords for free.

The blurb for Christmas Redemption:

Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.

Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.

Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?

Excerpt

Van worked hard to wash away the images of the men handling Tessa like she was a whore. He'd witnessed the fear and humiliation in her large green eyes. Now fear widened those same eyes. Only this fear was almost frantic.

"What's wrong?" He stepped closer.

"I-I…" She glanced at the building in front of them and then at her feet.

The calico cat slinked around the corner of the building, set its yellow eyes on Tessa, and trotted over, lacing back and forth around her ankles.

"You and the cat seem to be friends." The minute he spit the words out it dawned on him- Tessa was his squatter.

She bent, scooped the cat into her arms, and buried her face in the animal's thick fur. Van's heart squeezed.

"I have a feeling it's your pallet in my storeroom." He motioned to the cat when her face and wide eyes appeared over its back. "The cat and I met before. In the back room."

She sucked in air then coughed. The cat launched out of her arms. Tears streamed down her rosy cheeks.

Van slipped an arm around her and maneuvered her into the building, away from the prying eyes peering through the saloon doors and from the street around them. Inside, he closed the door and moved to add wood to the potbelly stove he'd started before heading to the saloon.

She stood just inside the door, huddled in his coat, the whole time he added two sticks of wood and placed a chair beside the stove.

"Sit and get warm." He maneuvered her to the chair and she sat.

"W-why are you doing this?" she asked, gazing up at him, searching his face. He could stare into her spring green eyes—round and wondering like an innocent child—all day.

"You didn’t look like you wanted those men pawing you, and I need help setting up and running my shop." And I can't let your life be awful because of me.

"Who are you? Why are you here? In Pleasant Valley?"

Van swallowed the wad of shame strangling his throat and studied the stove. She deserved the truth but would she understand his part in her father's death? He wouldn't know until he told her. He looked her square in the eyes.

"I lived in Pleasant Valley some years back and after learning a trade decided to return and reconnect with family." There until she heard his name that should suffice.

"Who's your family? I've been around here my whole life I probably know them." Tessa pulled his coat tighter around her shoulders.

The action reminded him of the men at the saloon and her scant clothing. "Why don’t you go back and change into your clothes. I'll get a pot of coffee going. Then we'll sit down and discuss what I see as your job." He turned his back to her and dug in the box he'd placed by the stove. The old battered pot he used for shop coffee was in it somewhere.

The cat's purring and the soft skim of her shoes across the wood floor faded. He ran a hand over the back of his neck. The muscles started knotting when she'd asked about his family. Damn! Sooner or later he'd have to tell her, but it would be best if he could keep it quiet until she fully trusted him and learned to see he wasn't the same boy who raised havoc on the town just to get his father riled.

Learn more about Paty Jager:
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Dinner: Log Cabins

Log cabins are the symbol of American families' hardiness and ethics. Anyone every used Log Cabin syrup on your waffles? Nice brand name. And guess what William Henry Harrison used for his campaign logo? Yep, a log cabin.

Diane Davis White was gracious to post her family's log cabin history, so RTW will feature log cabins for today's Chicken Dinner.  C'mon in and have a cup of coffee and a slice of hot homemade bread with fresh-churned butter while you take a look at our mini-tour of log cabins.

Pioneer Resources & Webliography has five interesting pages about log cabin life: daily chores, how families lived, food, and how to build a log cabin. Check it out for a good overview of all these topics.

For a more scholarly take on the log cabin, its origin, the varieties, uses, and a bibliography, the National Park Service is just the ticket.

Wanna actually see some? Check out YouTube:
The Living History School's Pioneer Log Cabin Tour



You can browse YouTube for all sorts of how-to videos--construction, chinking, finishing, furnishing.

Next week: Paty Jager!

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Diane Davis White: A Log Cabin History (Part 2)

by Diane Davis White

This article was first published in the Payne County Historical Society Booklet and reprinted in the Oklahoma State Historical Society. Because of length, the article has been published at Romancing The West in two parts. Read Part 1 here.
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This log cabin was originally located on the corner of Hwy 51 & Hwy 18 and was built by a man named Pawnee Rice, who is no relation to our family as far as we know.
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I would like to take a moment here to describe the cabin itself, which was in vast disrepair at the time it was acquired by the family. Mrs. Myatt described the dwelling in the following list of items, as though she were preparing them for an interview with the press, which she may well have been doing because the family was very prominent in the area and known for great works, good deeds and all manner of community service.
  1. When cabin was built: Approximately 1876 by Pawnee Rice
  2. Original location: On Hwy 51 at Hwy 18.
  3. Listing of the occupants, [which we have already gone over in Part 1]
  4. What did cabin look like on inside [furnishings]: The walls were white washed and sometimes covered with newspapers, also with building paper. Furnishings were what ever tenants brought with them.
  5. What heating facility was used: Wood was used for heating, oil stove for cooking.
  6. Roof: Clapboard roof put on with hand made nails.
  7. Loft: A ladder to the loft was nailed to wall, or otherwise stair steps nailed to wall.
  8. Did people sleep in loft: Yes
The cabin was a ruin by the time Sherman decided to fix it up and he put shingle siding on it, closed off the loft – which had most likely become a dangerous place full of rotting timbers – and tore down the dilapidated lean-to shed on the west side of the building that had served as a kitchen. Since his mother-in-law was too feeble to climb stairs to the loft, there was no need for it and keeping it heated in the winter would be a waste of fuel, therefore no repairs were attempted. The aforementioned kitchen was probably riddled with termites and dry rot and too far gone to repair, and since there was just one occupant for the cabin, there was no need to build another room.
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Mary Jane Rice Davis lived in the cabin until a few months before her death in 1944 at the age of 103. During her tenancy, many of her grandchildren came to visit for extended periods, including Jim Doty, a favorite grandchild who came to stay quite often. Another favored grandchild, Willa Cleveland, stayed with Mary Jane for a time. Gus Rice, who lived in the Duncan Bridge area, would come to stay with her as well. Since the only bed in the cabin was a trundle, with a roll out bed beneath it, it was a cozy little space for Mary and one or two grandchildren. She loved the company and was seldom left to her own devices with such a large family. At her death, it was reported that Mary Jane and James Washington Davis had eleven children, fifty-five grandchildren and over 100 great-grandchildren, and ‘numerous’ great-great-grandchildren.
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Mary Jane and James Washington Davis are buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Cushing, Oklahoma. A Civil War marker is placed next the James, denoting his veteran status. These two hearty pioneers were typical of the proud, courageous people who founded this great state of Oklahoma.
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Sherman and Nancy Kerby are also buried in Cushing in the Zion section of the same cemetery. Many of the Kerby, Davis and Rice families are buried there as well. Although Minnie Icy Kerby—eldest child of Sherman and Nancy—was buried at Ingalls. She came in the covered wagon with her sister Macie and her parents to the Indian Territory. It took them 49 days to come from Putnam County Missouri. They camped on Boomer Creek shortly after moving to the original site of Falls City, located south of Ingalls. There they took up their occupation of farming and raising stock.
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While living in this community they were thrown in contact with a group of supposed cowboys, who later proved to be infamous Doolin-Dalton gang. Mr. Kerby was plowing in a field very close to Ingalls when he heard the fight between the outlaws and the US Marshals. Unhitching a mule from the plow, he rushed toward Ingalls, meeting three of the outlaws before he arrived there.
Sherman Kerby further stated in his interview this regarding that incident:
“On September 1st, 1893, Bill Vickory and I were finished threshing on my place and were riding back to his dad’s place toward Ingalls. On the way we began hearing Winchesters popping like firecrackers and we supposed some of the boys were shooting just for fun. When we got to the Vickory farm, we met Bittercreek coming on his horse, leaning over in his saddle with a bullet wound in his thigh. I noticed the magazine was shot off his gun and that he was bleeding profusely.
He told us that they had a hell of a fight and that he didn’t know how many got killed. The Vickory’s began to pour buckets of cold water on the wound while Bittercreek was still on horseback and Bill and I mounted our horses again and stared off full-speed for Ingalls. Bittercreek was kept in hiding in the vicinity of the Vickery place and other nearby farms for several days. One time it was in a hay-stack and I recall smelling antiseptic along the trail through there later after he was treated by Dr. Selph of Ingalls.”
Mr. Kerby went on to describe the scene at Ingalls and stated that he saw Shadley’s woods—so close together that you could cover them with a tea saucer—and that he watched them load the wounded marshalls into wagons for the trip back to Stillwater. His recollections of the times are rich with history first hand and invaluable as such.
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Many of the descendents of the Kerby, Davis and Rice families are still living in and around this area, practicing many professions and enjoying widely varied lifestyles. Still, we are a family and as such, some of us are present here today to help commemorate the history of this old building that has seen so many years of service and is hopefully destined to be a ‘teaching’ museum and workshop to aid the young in keeping alive the rich heritage of the pioneers.
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Read Part 1 about this intriguing log cabin that chronicles the history of its inhabitants previously published at Romancing The West!
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When Lakota warrior Thunder Heart, who is destined to be a leader of his people, saves the lives of two white women during Red Cloud's War, he places his family and his village at risk.
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Can he keep these women safe? Will his act of compassion cause the death of his people?
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Will his people demand he abandon or kill these women in order to avoid the wrath of the Bluecoats or even Red Cloud?
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Uncertain of the outcome, he knows only one thing: He desires the pale-haired beauty, Victoria Abernathy, and will do anything to insure her safety.
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Read an excerpt

Available on
Kindle and Nook
Available in print at
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

A historical love story you won't want to miss!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Diane Davis White: A Log Cabin History

by Diane Davis White

RTW Note:  There's history, a listing of facts, battles, and dates -- then there's real history, families, people who eked a hard living day to day, building good lives for themselves and their children.  Romancing The West is pleased that Diane Davis White shared her own history with us, and it starts with a log cabin in Oklahoma. 

Because of length, the article will be published at Romancing The West in two parts, the second part will be published Thursday. It was first published in the Payne County Historical Society Booklet and reprinted in the Oklahoma State Historical Society. 

This log cabin was originally located on the corner of Hwy 51 & Hwy 18 and was built by a man named Pawnee Rice, who is no relation to our family as far as we know.

In May of 1949 William Sherman Kerby gave an interview to John Melton wherein he stated:
“That I, Sherman T Kerby of age 84 and a citizen of Payne County Oklahoma do hereby state and verify that: I first came to what is now Payne County in January 1893 into what was then Pawnee lands, having special permission of the Pawnee Indian Agency to do work for the Indians, building houses, cultivating, digging water wells, building fences, during which time I made acquaintance with many old Pawnee Indians, including Nelson [Pawnee] Rice, Chief Curly-Chief, John Brown, Little Chief, Spotted Horse, Walking-Sun, Robert Taylor, Setten Bull, of whom the last four were union soldiers during the civil war.”

Pawnee Rice lived like a white man and traded among the local tribes as well as the white population that came with the 1889 land run. He was killed—some say by Red Buck Wakeman—in 1897 and the property was eventually purchased by Sherman, whose relations and descendents have used the log cabin at various times down through the years.

In his interview, Mr. Kerby stated further that:
“Pawnee Rice was shot by Red Buck in the fall of about 1894. Buck reportedly boasted of the shooting before witnesses. Rice had walked out on his porch early in the morning where Buck waylaid him. I helped bury Rice on top of the west mound of the Twin Mounds. His pearl-handled revolvers were buried with him. The government reserved 10 acres on top of the mound for an Indian cemetery.
Mrs. Macie Myatt wrote the following list of persons that she knew of who had used the cabin, and also mentioned the condition and furnishings of the dwelling in the early days. According to the list, the first family to use the cabin—after it was purchased in 1920 by Sherman Kerby—was Oscar Boyd, along with his wife and a son named Cleo. It is not known how long they stayed, but their tenancy was followed by that of a gentleman by the name of Sam Turner and his wife, and again, we do not know the length of the tenancy.

The third known occupant was a Mr. Williams, whose name was listed by Ms. as Negro Williams. It is not known if this was his name or if it referred to his race, as it was not uncommon during that era for blacks to be referred to as ‘Negroes’. Mr. Williams may well have been a farm worker whose pay included board, which would have been tenancy in the cabin—although this is not known for certain.

As in the case of Mr. Williams, the first two occupants—the Boyd & Turner families—may have been farm workers hired by Sherman T, and who used the cabin as the only dwelling available that was convenient to their jobs. The other possible scenario would be simply that each family rented the property for a brief time, but it is more likely that they earned their livelihood on the farm, transportation being a scarcity during those difficult times.

Next came Sherman and Mary Nancy’s daughter, Verna, and her husband, Vannah Harris. Their occupancy was probably a matter of expediency for a newly married couple wanting privacy, but this is only a matter of speculation, of course, as there is no written record to prove or disprove such a claim. While living in the log cabin, Mrs. Harris gave birth to a son, Sherman Wayne Harris, on February 27th, 1922. The approximate length of the prior tenancies being very short is proven by the birth of this child, a mere two years after the property was purchased.

NC and his brother Dewey ‘batched’ it there for awhile after their sister, Mrs. Harris, and her small family departed. The brothers no doubt wanted some freedom from living under their father’s watchful eye in the main house and the cabin provided them with the independence they were craving. There are no wild stories, however, of that period in the cabin’s history—or none that we’ve heard, at any rate.

Sherman’s mother-in-law, Mary Jane Rice Davis was the last occupant of the cabin and as far as we can determine, moved in there around 1935 or 36. She remained as occupant of the cabin—which had been renovated and made comfortable for her by Sherman—until just before her death in 1944.

Mary Jane came to Oklahoma as a pioneer, traveling with her husband James Washington Davis, and six of their eleven children. They came from Iowa in a covered wagon and homesteaded about three miles east of Ingalls next to the first Kerby Homestead on what is now 19th avenue, once the Ingalls Road. Mr. Davis died in 1923, leaving his widow with only a small pension and their homestead, and a bank account which was worth about $1500 according the probate records.

He was a veteran of the Union Army, having served during the Civil War with the Iowa 6th Infantry, Company H, and he was discharged honorably just before they reached Atlanta, for an undisclosed disability sustained on that long and treacherous forced march to the sea. After his death, Mary Jane rented out the farm and went to live with various of her children, until in about 1935 Sherman decided to renovate the cabin and did so, with the object of moving his mother-in-law there. This was a decidedly good move, for it brought her close by, where her oldest daughter, Mary Nancy, could look after her and this kept her in a permanent home where she could be independent, as well.

Read the rest of this intriguing log cabin that chronicles the history of its inhabitants in Part 2, coming next at Romancing The West!

When Lakota warrior Thunder Heart, who is destined to be a leader of his people, saves the lives of two white women during Red Cloud's War, he places his family and his village at risk.

Can he keep these women safe? Will his act of compassion cause the death of his people? Will his people demand he  abandon or kill these women in order to avoid the wrath of the Bluecoats or even Red Cloud?

Uncertain of the outcome, he knows only one thing: He desires the pale-haired beauty, Victoria Abernathy, and will do anything to insure her safety.

Read an excerpt

Available on
Kindle and Nook
Available in print at
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

A historical love story you won't want to miss!

Chicken Dinner: Outhouses

Debra Holland wrote about grand buildings and houses constructed of Sioux quartzite. But hey, not all buildings in the Old West were so fancy. Let's face it--every human needed somewhere to take care of business, visit Mrs. Murphy, have a conference with the governor, or see a man about a horse. You get the drift.

Plug your nose because today, Chicken Dinner is visiting outhouses.

We might as well start off with a general overview of plumbing with Plumbing--It's Good to Have. This is a brief synopsis of plumbing throughout the ages, from the ancient Chinese to modern times.

Anything you want to know about outhouses, you'll probably find on the Outhhouses of America Tour website. Don't overlook the trivia and FAQ pages.

Two-story outhouse in
Silver City, Idaho
You just know Legends of America will have something to say on this topic. Take a look at their Outhouses of the American West pages (five of them).

A fun site to visit (and to send your outhouse photos and anecdotes) is OutHouseGraffiti.com. They refer to the Legends of America site for the history, but this site offers photos, stories, and "misc. crap" (which has nothing to do with anything, but fun if you like disgusting humor).

Outhouses have been a source of good old American humor, the most often used is privy-tipping.  Outhouse scenarios are frequent in shoot-outs because they lend a little comic relief to an otherwise very tense "sit"-uation.  Yes, there's outhouse humor in nearly all my books--didn't realize that until now!

Next week: Diane Davis White! And no, she won't be talking about outhouses. You're in for a real treat because she has written an article that RTW will publish in two parts about the history of her family's log cabin. Stay tuned!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sioux Quartzite


Debra Holland, Author
 By Debra Holland
Copyright © 2011 Debra Holland

When pioneers settled the West, they made homes and other buildings of whatever materials were available, wood, sod, or adobe brick. Yet when the time came for people to build their civic buildings, monuments, or mansions, the builders often used stone or brick. When building these monuments, the owners and architects often wanted the most beautiful and durable stone. One hundred plus years later, many of these buildings are still standing, a historical tribute to the people who designed, built, and used them.

The decorative stone used in many important early buildings in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa was Sioux quartzite, a pinky brown stone that lent a rugged elegance to the facades. Quartzite is sandstone that has been subjected to heat and pressure, and has been cemented with siica. Sioux quartzite is almost 100% quartz, so it resists erosion.



This house, built in 1890, had the
quartzite facade  on the outside of the
first story and wood on the second.
 
Recently, I flew to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a wedding, but managed to slip in time for research. I loved the quartzite stone on the old buildings (and some modern ones) and even brought a handful of stones back with me.

In one of the museums, I asked if the veins of quartzite extended into Western Montana because I wanted to use it in my fictional town of Sweetwater Springs. To my disappointment, I learned that it didn’t. However, I realized that the hero of the book I’m currently writing could have seen the quartzite on his travels through the West, and imported it when he built a newspaper office.

Sioux quartzite also lends beauty to the countryside. In Falls Park, in Sioux Falls, thousands of years of the Big Sioux River flowing over the stone have carved amazing channels through the rock. Unlike most vertical waterfalls, these falls are more like a liquid escalator, swirling around the pillars and basins cut by the water.

While the water flows swiftly, the river is broad and shallow, allowing for wading and swimming in the various pools. In spite of the park setting, it’s easy to imagine the Native Americans living by the water, and, in the 1900s, how important the river must have been to the early settlers.

Road paved with
Sioux quartzite
Aside from the practicality of living by the river, the beauty of the surroundings must have gladdened the hearts of all who saw it, whether they were passing through, or making their homes there. I’m glad I had a chance to experience it.

Thanks, Debra!

Check out the Montana Sky series from Debra Holland!  Learn how Starry Montana Sky came into being in RTW's Debra Holland: Starry Montana Sky.

Buy links: Amazon Smashwords Barnes & Noble

Monday, October 10, 2011

Debra Holland: Starry Montana Sky

Starry Montana Sky
by Debra Holland
Buy links: Amazon Smashwords Barnes & Noble

Debra first visted Romancing The West a few months ago, and you can read her interview there.

RTW asked how her second book, Starry Montana Sky, came about. Here's her answer:

After I finished my first book, Wild Montana Sky, the members of my critique group and local RWA chapter told me I needed to have a second book ready for when the first one sold. I wanted to continue setting stories in my fictional small town of Sweetwater Springs, Montana during the 1890s, so I chose 1894, one year after the first book took place. Then I had to come up with a story idea.

While attending the Rose Parade on New Year’s day, I saw a small carriage pulled by miniature horse, and instantly knew I had to have them in my story. I sat on the bleachers watching the parade go by, and, at the same time, scribbling notes in my program. I decided my no-nonsense hero, Wyatt Thompson, would disparage the idea of the little horses. Then I had to figure out his backstory to know how he came to have that outlook on life. Wyatt has one daughter, Christine, whom he’s raised on his own, and he’s very protective of her.

I researched little horses and found that the Falabella breed of miniature horses existed in Argentina in 1894. So I had my heroine, Samantha Rodriguez come from Argentina to Sweetwater Springs, bringing six Falabella and her son. Then I needed to figure out Samantha’s life in Argentina, and how she ended up in Montana. I’ll give you a hint. She’s not a native Argentine.

Although Samantha had one son, she dreamed of adopting more boys like Jo March did in Louisa May Alcott’s book, Jo’s Boys. A brainstorming session (put on by my RWA chapter) with author Leanne Banks helped round out Samantha’s story.

As an idea for me, Leanne mentioned an article she’d read about Last Chance Ranch, which was a place for wayward boys. That suggestion clicked with me, and I knew that Samantha needed to have a ranch for her “last chance” boys.


Debra Holland

Of course, life doesn’t always work out the way you plan, and Samantha’s boys caused a lot of trouble, turning the town against her family. And you can imagine how Wyatt Thompson felt about having wayward boys on the nearby ranch, all too near his daughter. Yet Christine couldn’t resist those cute little horses. The conflict between Wyatt and Samantha flares up again and again, yet they’re drawn to each other despite the problems. In the end, the Falabella are going to help save the day and bring the two together.

For most of the time I was writing the book, it had the working title of Sam’s Boys. It wasn’t until almost the end that I came up with the title, Starry Montana Sky.

Excerpt of Starry Montana Sky: the scene in Starry Montana where the hero and heroine meet.
Copyright © 2011 Debra Holland

On Tuesday afternoon, Wyatt reined-in by the front of the livery stable, mentally consigning Reverend Norton and his good causes to the devil. Not that he had any fear the minister would actually be facing Old Nick. It’s just that Wyatt had better things to do with his time than play cowboy to a bunch of fancy Spanish horses belonging to the woman who’d taken over Ezra’s ranch--like dealing with the horses and cattle on his own ranch. But, he’d given the preacher his word.

He slid off Bill, looping the reins over the rail. He pushed open the barn doors, then stalked inside, peering through the gloom. Although he wouldn’t admit it to a soul, the idea of these South American horses had tantalized him. Maybe they’d be of high enough quality to add to his breeding stock.

A kitten skittered across the dirt floor, and he did a dance step to avoid tramping on it. “Hey, little fella. Watch where you’re goin’.” He reached down, scooped the kitten up, and cradled the furry body against his chest. Running a finger over the tiny gray head, he remembered his daughter chattering about the litter of kittens she played with whenever she stabled her pony before school. Maybe he should talk to Mack about taking this one home to her.

Still holding the kitten, he looked up. A quick scan showed familiar horses: Cobb’s bay, Banker Livingston’s team, Doc Cameron’s roan, the Appaloosa Nick Sanders rode to town, and a few of the horses Mack Taylor, the livery stable owner, rented out. No South American horses hung their sleek heads over the doors of the stalls.

With a grunt of annoyance, Wyatt set the kitten on the nearest bale of hay, turned on his heel and strode outside, rounding the corner toward the stable office. “Mack!” he bellowed, charging through the door.

Mack Taylor half rose from behind a table, where the remains of a meal rested, and wiped his gray-bearded mouth with his stained brown sleeve. Pepe, lounging against a wall, straightened.

Wyatt didn’t give him a chance to speak. “Where are those Falabellas? Did they arrive?”

Mack and Pepe exchanged glances. Mack straightened, amusement wrinkling his narrow broken-nosed face. He ran a hand through his grizzled shoulder-length hair. “Arrived right on time. No problem et all.”

“Then where are they?”

“In the stable where they belong.”

“No, they’re not. I’ve just come from there.” He took two strides into the room. “If you’ve gone and lost that widow-woman’s horses, the ones I took responsibility for---”

Mack raised a placating hand. “Now, Thompson. I ain’t never lost me a horse in my life. Never even had one stolen. Let’s just mosey out to the stable and have us another look. Perhaps you didn’t see ‘em.”

“You sayin' I’m blind? Those Falabellas aren’t there. I recognized every horse in the place.”

“Let’s us go look-see.” Mack stepped out from behind the table, yellowed green eyes squinting in amusement.

Pepe followed. Although the young man kept his eyes downcast, Wyatt could tell by the set of his shoulders, he, too, found the situation humorous.

Wyatt let them pass, then fell in behind, puzzlement creeping into his anger. Were they playing a joke on him? The top of his ears burned at the thought. While Mack enjoyed a laugh as much as any man, he wasn’t known for being a prankster.

He followed the two men through the doors of the barn. Sunlight filtered through the entrance and an open window above the hayloft--more than enough to illuminate the dim interior. He glanced down the row of stalls, again assessing and dismissing each curious occupant.

Just as he thought, no South American horses. With one part of his mind, he took stubborn satisfaction in being right. With another, he started worrying--a gut churning feeling of concern. Regardless of what he’d felt about the Spanish widow’s acquisition of Ezra’s ranch, he’d taken responsibility for her horses, and Wyatt Thompson took his responsibilities seriously.

He couldn’t even report them stolen. Nobody to take the report. With the retirement of Rand Mather six months before, Sweetwater Springs no longer had a sheriff. Wyatt would have to track the thieves down himself. And how could he explain this to Reverend Norton, much less to the widow?

Mack leaned over the nearest empty stall. “There ya are, little fella. Thompson here worried ya done gone and disappeared on us.”

What the…? Wyatt stepped beside him. It must be a foal, he thought assessing the tiny brown animal with the black mane and tail. But his experienced eye dismissed that thought almost as soon as it came. This compact miniature horse didn’t possess the unfinished stick-legged look of a foal.

Mack glanced at Wyatt’s stunned face and cackled. Pepe’s soft laugher joined his.

“Midgets?”

“Yep, midget horses. Damned strangest thing I ever did see. Cute little critters, though. Look at the rest.”

Wyatt strode down the aisle, peering over the top of the stalls. Black, chestnut, brown, dappled gray, and a cream-colored one with black legs, mane and tail.... None of them stood higher than his hips.

The burning sensation spread from his ears, across his forehead, and into his cheeks. Why hadn’t that widow woman mentioned midget horses? He ground his teeth. Not a good way to begin relations with his new neighbor.

From Mack’s continuous cackling as the man exited the barn, probably for the nearest saloon, Wyatt knew the story would be all over town in a matter of hours. The heat in his face singed the outside of his skin like a fresh sunburn. He had a reputation in these parts as a calm, logical man of substance. People respected him. He’d built a prosperous life, erasing the disasters and shame of his younger years. Now in just a few minutes, some Spanish widow had managed to overset his hard-earned serenity. And he hadn’t even met the woman! Wyatt turned and stalked down the aisle, keeping a wary eye out for the kitten.

From outside the door, a boy’s voice called, “In here, Mama.”

Before Wyatt had time to step out of the way, a young boy careened into him. Something jabbed into his side. He grabbed the boy’s shoulders before he could hit the ground and set him on his feet.

“Pardon, Senor.”

Wyatt surveyed his captive. A little overdressed for a weekday. He didn’t recognize the child, but he was familiar with the sticky red and white candy clutched in the boy’s hand. His daughter’s favorite. Wyatt glanced down at himself. Just as he surmised, a red stain blotched his once clean white shirt.

The boy’s gaze followed Wyatt’s. A chagrined look crossed his face. “Sentir ... I mean, sorry, sir.”

“Slow down, son, and watch where you’re going.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

A melodic woman’s voice asked, “Is there a problem?”

Wyatt looked up. The Spanish widow no doubt. Clad in black from head to toe, she clutched an armload of parcels and sacks. The shadows near the door obscured her features. He gave a gentle push to the boy, heading him back outside. “Perhaps you should wash up. Use the pump by the horse trough.”

Pepe rushed over. “Señora Rodriguez, let me take those for you.” He lifted the bundles out of her arms and disappeared outside. Popping back in the barn, he said, “Is there anything else I may do for you, Señora?”

“Non, Gracias, Pepe.”

“De nada, Señora.” Pepe hurried back out.

I should have helped her. Wyatt buried the quick spurt of shame under rising anger. She was the cause of his current predicament. “I take it you’re the owner of these midgets?”

She stepped into the light, and her beauty caught him in the gut--like a kick from one of her midget horses. Under her black straw hat, he caught a glimpse of flame-colored hair. Auburn brows and lashes framed wide blue eyes. A flush of peach crept into her cheeks and a determined chin, now lifted several inches higher than before, gave her a spirited demeanor. Not the withered, dark-skinned widow he’d been expecting.

“Falabellas,” she corrected.

“I don’t care what high fallutin’ name you give them. Those horses are midgets.”

“No they’re not.”

“What good are Falabellas anyway? Can’t even ride them.”

He caught the flash of her cornflower blue eyes and watched with appreciation as her bosom swelled with anger. She tightened her jaw and visibly forced herself to give him a civil reply. “They can pull a special buggy. And they’re very playful.”

“Playful?” His words dripped with derision. Shame brushed across his conscience, but not enough to stop him.

“Yes.”

“Who needs a playful horse? A good horse is a hard workin' horse.” Didn’t she know anything? She would never make a go of her ranch with her kind of horses.

“They’re very good with children. Although you might not approve of that either.”

He heard the civility slip from her voice and secretly smiled. There was a way to reach past her cool exterior. “If you’re implying that I don’t approve of children, I must inform you I have a daughter. Christine will be out of school in a few minutes, and you can meet her. Perhaps we can get these ... these....”

“They’re Falabellas.”

“I get the name. Falabellas. Do you herd them like sheep or lead them like donkeys?”

“Chico and Mariposa will pull the buggy,” she said, crisping each word. “The rest only need lead ropes. I’ll hire a horse for Manuel, my groom. If we keep the bigger horses to a slow walk, these will be fine. Although I don’t know what business it is of yours, Mr...?”

Beneath the chill in the widow’s icy blue eyes and cool voice burned a passion as fiery as her hair. He could sense it. Like the fires of hell, a man could be consumed by such a blaze. Might even heat up the cold emptiness inside him. He shoved that thought aside. Best focus on the matter at hand. “I’m the help you requested in your letter to Reverend Norton.”

He swept her a mocking bow. “Wyatt Thompson, at your service.”

And there you go--another great book from Debra Holland!  Be watching for the third book in her Montana Sky series this winter.

Make sure you don't miss any of her latest releases. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or her website.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Dinner: RTW's Fun Sites

I read several websites and blogs, most not on a regular basis because of the time factor, but I do like to drop in every now and again. So for Chicken Dinner today, I decided to post some interesting sites that nearly always have new and interesting content.

If you have a western blog or website and would like to be listed in a Chicken Dinner post, please let me know. (jacquierogers @ gmail.com but without the spaces.)
.
Dac Crossley
Dac Crossley is a western writer and has a terrific blog. I thoroughly enjoyed his post on chiggers. Okay, so I itched for an hour after I read it...nevertheless, he always finds something interesting to chat about. Stop by Dac Crossley's Western Blog and you'll see what I mean.


Owyhee Avalanche
in Homedale, Idaho

This isn't actually a western blog, and the updates aren't necessarily timely, but talk about content. Wow. And the extra cool thing is that they featured my hometown newspaper, Owyhee Avalache. Yes, I cheated and took you directly to that page. Go back to the home page if you want to see Wild Bill Hickok's death notice and some other interesting news items.

Here's a blog sponsored by the Aurora History Boutique, so each blog entry includes listings to their store where you can buy certain items mentioned. The blog itself is called History Blog and I look at the Old West Category. Topic range from the history of mocassins to Annie Oakley. There are only a couple pages of entries but I enjoyed them.

And here's your laugh of the day from Larissa Lyons: Oh My. Oh Moo!

We Have A Winner!

Deborah Macgillivray won a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals! Congratulations, Deborah!  Since she's the cover designer, I guess I'll have to send her a print book. LOL.

Everyone: drop a line to jacquierogers @ gmail.com and I'll send you a sneak peek of Much Ado About Madams, the second book in the Much Ado series.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Patent Medicines: Strong Stuff!


by Jacquie Rogers
Copyright © 2009-2011 Jacquie Rogers


The labels carried wild promises but no list of ingredients. Patent medicines were ubiquitous in the 1800s, partly because medical science had made advances and partly because the search for health exceeded medical science's capabilities.  What a goldmine for stories!

These elixirs, creams, and compresses were made from any number of ingredients, ranging from vegetable juice to narcotics. Remember, there were no drug laws in the USA until after the turn of the 20th Century. When a patient took a dose of patent medicine, he or she could be taking opium, alcohol, mandrake, belladonna, marijuana, or extracts from hellebore, henbane, datura, and hemlock.



The term "patent medicine" refers to a product with a proprietary list of ingredients and sold directly to the public, not that the medicine was patented. Some of these products originated as old family recipes, but some manufacturers were a bit more mercenary in the development of their tonics. The quest for the almighty dollar soon surpassed any anecdotal or scientific basis for these medicines, and the patent medicine business became a huge economic force.


Tired of Viagra ads? Believe me, these ads certainly aren't new. Here's one of my favorite patent medicine ads, taken from The Owyhee Avalanche in the 1880s:



*************************************
LOST MANHOOD RESTORED
*************************************

THE DR. LIEBIG Private Dispensary
400 Geary St. San Francisco, Cal
Conducted by qualified physicians and surgeons--regular graduates. The Oldest Specialists in the United States, whose LIFE-LONG EXPERIENCE, perfect method and pure medicine, insure SPEEDY and PERMANENT CURES of all Private Chronic and Nervous Diseases. Affections of the Blood, Skin, Kidneys, Bladder, Eruptions, Ulcers, Old Sores, Swelling of the Glands, Sore Mouth, Throat, permanently cured and eradicated from the system for life. NERVOUS Debility, Impotency, Seminal Losses, Sexual Decay, Mental and Physical Weakness, Failing Memory, Weak Eyes, Stunted Development, Impediments to Marriage, etc. from excesses or youthful follies, or any cause, speedily, safely and privately cured.

Young, Middle-Aged and Old men, and all who need medical skill and experience, consult the old European Physician at once. His opinion costs nothing and may save future misery and shame. When inconvenient to visit the city for treatment, medicines can be sent everywhere by express, free from observation. It is self-evident that a physician who gives his whole attention to a class of diseases attains great skill, and physicians throughout the country, knowing this, frequently recommend difficult cases to the Oldest Specialist, by whom every Known good remedy is used. The Doctor's Age and experience make his opinion of Supreme Importance.


...and it goes on and on!  I couldn't resist this one--yes, I used it in Much Ado About Marshals.  I managed to squeeze in a few more, too.  Hostetter's Stomach Bitters was another favorite.  But the cash cow would soon be dried up.  Abuse of such strong ingredients couldn't go on.


The patent medicine industry was brought to its knees shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. From the Food and Drug Administration:
A few muckraking journalists helped expose the red clauses, the false testimonials, the nostrums laden with harmful ingredients, the unfounded cures for cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, narcotic addiction, and a host of other serious as well as self-limited diseases. The most influential work in this genre was the series by Samuel Hopkins Adams that appeared in Collier's on October 7, 1905, entitled "The Great American Fraud." Adams published ten articles in the series, which concluded in February 1906; he followed it up with another series on doctors who advertised fake clinics. The shocking stories of the patent medicine menace were accompanied by startling images, such as "Death's Laboratory."
Good health to you!

Win a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals!
All you have to do to enter to win a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals is leave a comment on any of the posts this week.  Each post is an entry, so comment more than once for more chances.  One lucky winner wins!  Be sure to leave your email address or we'll have to draw another winner.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jacquie Rogers: Much Ado About Marshals

Much Ado About Marshals
by Jacquie Rogers
Buy links: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords

(First published at Paty Jager's blog)

Jacquie Rogers grew up on a farm in southwest Idaho, milking cows, riding horses, hoeing beets, and all the other things that need to be done on a farm, creating experiences which have proved to be a rich source of story fodder. Now she lives in Washington State with her husband. The only animal she herds these days is her cat, Annie. And no, Annie doesn’t cooperate all that well. Jacquie’s first ambition was to be a baseball announcer, but that didn’t work out so by age 8 she decided to be a foreign correspondent because they get to go to exotic places. Having children took care of that dream, so she ended up doing all sorts of other jobs before she took up the keyboard.

Her current release is Much Ado About Marshals, a Western Historical Romance. Also available is a western contemporary, Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues, and two fantasy romances, Faery Merry Christmas and Faery Special Romances.

What led you to write a Romance?

Graveyard Point:
My old playground
Once upon a time, I was bedridden with a bad case of pneumonia and ran out of books to read. Disaster! My daughter brought me a Romance novel, but I adamantly refused to read it. Out of desperation for reading material, I finally did read a few Romances, and liked them so well I read several dozen more during the month of recovery. Then I started writing my own story, and hasn’t stopped since.

To expand on my beginnings as a writer, I was (still am) inspired by really great books. They’re fodder for my soul. I hadn’t read Romance before my daughter forced me into it. To understand a writer, you have to understand their reading habits. I cut my teeth on Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour and other traditional Western authors, then moved on to Mystery and Fantasy. I read those genres obsessively for several years.

But in all these books, something was missing, and that something was the completion of the human experience. Westerns end with the good guy triumphing over the bad guy, Mysteries end with the culprit in handcuffs, and Fantasy ends when the world is saved from the ultimate evil force. There’s more to life than that, though. Missing from these other genres is our primal need for a mate and children, the urge to nurture our souls with love. Without that, a story isn’t complete, because our internal primal urges drive us in a way that external forces can’t and don’t. I find a more complete humanness in Romance novels.

What’s next?

I have two projects and I don’t know which will be published first. One is book two of the Much Ado series, Much Ado About Madams. It’s so new, I don’t even have a web page for it yet. We’re still in the editing stage with that one, although if anyone posts a review, they’re welcome to a sneak peek at book 2. Book 3 is also in the works, written but I haven’t decided on a title yet.

The other project is called Faery Hot Dragon, and is a dragon-faery story. I’ll self-publish it as a novella and then co-publish with Eilis Flynn, who also has a dragon novella.

Much Ado About Marshals description:

Laugh out loud funny plus plotting so clever and seamless makes Much Ado About Marshals my favorite new recommended read.
~~Amber Scott, author of WANTED (Dead or Alive)


Cover model Kyle Walker

Daisy Gardner wants to be a detective just like dime novel heroine Honey Beaulieu. To her delight, her sister shot a bank robbery and he got away, so now she even has a crime to solve. But her parents insist she marry a man whose farm is miles from town. She can’t solve crimes stuck out there. What better solution than to marry the new marshal!

Rancher Cole Richards saves his friend from robbing a bank, but is shot for his efforts, and now is a wanted man. His friend takes him to Oreana to see the doc, where Cole’s mistaken for the new marshal. Now he faces a dilemma few men have to face--tell the truth and face a gulty verdict and hanging, or live a lie and end up married. Either way could cost him his freedom.

Excerpt from Much Ado About Marshals
by Jacquie Rogers
Copyright © 2011 Jacquie Rogers

(COLE is pursuing two dangerous bad guys, and in doing so, investigates a cave, where he finds DAISY, the woman who is just as determined to marry him as he is to remain a bachelor and avoid the hanging tree.)

“Stay right there, buster,” Daisy yelled, “or I’ll blow your head into Kingdom come!”

Cole froze. There was nothing more dangerous on the face of this earth than a scared woman, and while Daisy sounded more confident than he thought she ought, surely she was scared out of her wits. She kneeled by an old trunk holding a pair of handcuffs in her left hand, training a pistol on him with her right.

“Daisy?” he said softly. “It’s me.” He relaxed, relieved she was safe--and plumb tickled he hadn’t walked down the bore of one of the Rankin brothers.

“Marshal?”

“Yes, I’m here.”

“Put the lantern up to your face so I know for sure.”

He did. She lowered the pistol and smiled.

Cole hadn’t found the Rankins, but what he had found was far more dangerous.

* * * * *

Daisy uncocked the pistol, set the lantern down, and flew into the marshal’s arms. “I’m so glad you’re here!” He hugged her back, a possessive hug that thrilled her to her toes.

“I’m so glad I found you,” he murmured in her ear. “I was--er, we were real worried about you.” He pulled her even tighter into his arms.

Memories of what he’d done the previous night sent warm tingles from her breasts to her thighs. Her body ached for more--she wanted more. “You found me,” she whispered, and raised her face, licking her lips.

He stared at her mouth, his eyes dark with the same wanting that churned inside her, she was sure. She couldn’t have been more sure. She wrapped her arms around him and rubbed his back. The cave was hard and cool--the marshal was hard and hot.

“Daisy, I can’t . . . We shouldn’t . . .” He lowered his lips to hers in a tender kiss, then deepened it until he’d tasted her completely.

She flicked her tongue on his, urging him on, her breasts tight against his chest, her pelvis moving against his groin. She wanted more than he gave her the night before. She wanted everything he had to give her, now and forever. She sought--demanded--his warmth, tugging his shirttail from his britches, plunging her hands under his shirt to feel the smooth, warm skin on his back.

He gave a low groan. “Oh, God, woman. This isn’t what you want.” He pulled back, but she didn’t let him go.

She wouldn’t let him go! She’d had a taste of the wonders that happen between a man and a woman, and it had only made her hungry for more. Only with the marshal, though. Only him. She pressed her lips against his neck and ran her tongue to his earlobe. He shuddered, the movement urging her to do more.

Unbuttoning the top button of his shirt, she kissed the little indentation below his Adam’s apple, then unbuttoned the other buttons and peeled the shirt off him. He fell to his knees and pressed his face in her bosom. Tingles shot through her body with such ferocity, she thought she might faint with pleasure. She plunged her fingers through his hair and held him at her breast.

This night, she, Daisy Gardner, would discover all the wonders of being a woman.
# # #

Please let me know if you review Much Ado About Marshals and I'll send you the first chapter of Much Ado About Madams! Just send the review site to jacquierogers @ gmail.com. Thanks!

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