Thursday, April 19, 2018

From Southern Belle to Cattle Queen and Then Some...

More than a decade ago, I read A Bride Goes West, the memoirs of Wyoming wife and rancher Nannie Alderson. The book haunts me to this day. You’d have to read it to understand, but Nannie was a fire-cracker with a rebel’s heart! Nothing ever kept her down; she accepted life with grace and grit and lived a grand adventure when the west was still wild and wooly.
 Born to an affluent southern family, Nannie grew up in post-Civil War Virginia. Her home and community were spared much of the desolation of war, leaving her to blossom in a world that clung to the most genteel Southern graces. Her petticoats were ironed daily, she never cooked a meal or did her own laundry, but she did learn the most useless graces of high society. Her mother was a vain woman who enjoyed being the belle of the ball and was pleased to groom her daughter for the same fate.
Nannie only felt strangled by the shallow, societal confinements.
In 1880, she had the opportunity to visit a cousin in wild-and-wooly Kansas. Nannie jumped at it. Right from the start, she fell in love with the freedom of the West. No one judged her there; no one treated her like a hot-house flower. What you wore or who you ate dinner with didn’t impress anyone. Folks were measured by their grit, not their silk breeches. Hard work and honest words were all that mattered.
While there, she met the man who epitomized these traits. Walt Alderson had left home at the age of 12 to make his way as a cowboy. He spent years learning to be the best cowboy he could be with the ultimate goal of running his own spread. In all that time, he never made one visit home.
He and his business partner had purchased some land in Montana and started the work of building a ranch. For whatever reason, Walt decided in the midst of all this to check in on his family. The night he came home, Nannie was sitting on his living room settee.
Nannie’s recollections of building a ranch in the wilds of Montana with Walt are fascinating, detailed, peppered with humor, and always honest. She went from gliding across hardwood floors to sweeping dirt floors covered with canvas. She went from living in an antebellum mansion to a drafty, two-room cabin. She went from swirling about at parties with young men in perfectly tailored suits to dancing with dusty cowboys in patched up dungarees.
She had to learn to cook and her tutors were those trail-hardened ranch hands who treated her like a princess and readily forgave her for the rocks she called biscuits. She survived bed bugs and blizzards; delivered children with no midwife and stared down Indians. Nannie even shot a rattlesnake who attempted to take up residence in her kitchen. She readily admits she had moments when she felt sorry for herself, but, mostly, Nannie counted her blessings. She loved her life. She loved the way of life out West.
Like Walt, quitting was never part of the plan, even when the stock market crashed and Indians burned their house. For ten years they worked and slaved to forge a home from the beautiful, desolate, wide-open country in Montana.  Even when Walt died, leaving her a widow with two young children, Nannie cowboyed up. She made ends meet; she raised good kids.
The next time your microwave goes on the fritz or you forget to pick up milk at the store, pick up a copy of A Bride Goes West. I guarantee this gritty pioneer gal will put things in perspective for you. If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll consider signing up for my newsletter. In return, you'll get a free copy of my "sampler"--the openings to several of my books. 

So, what do you think? Have we gone soft? Do Americans face up to things the way our ancestors did?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Popular Poetry of the 1800s


Today is our EARLY BIRDS & NIGHT OWLS-Evemt. Come Join Us!
Open invitation to all readers who love sweet historical romance.
Learn more about our Facebook party, giveaways & our fabulous authors
The blog for readers & writers who love sweet/clean North American historical romance from 1820 through 1929.
SWEETAMERICANASWEETHEARTS.BLOGSPOT.COM

However, on my scheduled blog day, I want to share the other side of history and writers. 
April is National Poetry month. In honor it seemed appropriate to share some of the more popular poems from the 1800s. 

Christina Rosetti is a favorite of mine. Here is her poem 'Echo'

Echo


Come to me in the silence of the night;
   Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
   As sunlight on a stream;
      Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
   Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
   Where thirsting longing eyes
      Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
   My very life again tho’ cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
   Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
      Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.

Of course you can't talk about 1800s poetry without mentioning Emily Dickenson. Here is her poem ' Sometimes with the Heart'

Sometimes with the Heart
Seldom with the Soul
Scarcer once with the Might
Few - love at all. 


Anytime you speak about poets of the 1800s you usually include Tennyson. Here is a poem some of you may recognize:

Lullaby - Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low, 
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep. 

I will leave you with a favorite of mine from Helen (Hunt) Jackson:

Last Words

Dear hearts, whose love has been so sweet to know,

That I am looking backward as I go,

Am lingering while I haste, and in this rain

Of tears of joy am mingling tears of pain;

Do not adorn with costly shrub, or tree,

Or flower, the little grave which shelters me.

Let the wild wind-sown seeds grow up unharmed,

And back and forth all summer, unalarmed,

Let all the tiny, busy creatures creep;

Let the sweet grass its last year's tangles keep;

And when, remembering me, you come some day

And stand there, speak no praise, but only say,

" How she loved us'! 'Twas that which made her dear! "

Those are the words that I shall joy to hear.
Here's to the beauty of poetry. When you get a moment, stop by and read some of the other poets who were creatiing pictures and emotions with words. Poetry was enjoyed by many and you might be surprised by who was writing and what they wrote about. 

Until next time.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hooray! Only One More Day!



Tomorrow,
Wednesday, April 18th
begins the 
on Facebook.

Join our authors who blog for
Sweet Americana Sweethearts
starting in the morning, and finishing at night. Here is the schedule:



Each author will award two prizes:

1.  The EARLY BIRD prize awarded right away at the conclusion of her time to one person who leaves a comment on her posts.
2.  The NIGHT OWL prize awarded sometime after the end of the event to one person who leaves a comment any time during the day on her posts.
Leave a comment with every author for your best chance to win one of the offered prizes.
to join the party on Facebook. Click GOING to receive updates through the day so you can connect ~ early or late ~ with each of our authors.


Can hardly wait? 
Here are a few fun ways you can start the party early.


First, CLICK HERE to complete an online puzzle organized by our own Caryl McAdoo.

Second, after you click to show you are going to the event, 
section and to go to the bird survey. It starts with "What kind of bird describes you?" Leave us an image of your favorite bird or one that sums you up the best.

See you tomorrow!




Monday, April 16, 2018

Old West Slang by Sophie Dawson

Every era, culture, area, and any other sub-group of a population has its own slang words. Being from the rural Mid-West, our slang tends to be less trendy than those from more metropolitan areas.
Wanting to give characters more personality I’ve researched Cowboy and Western slang. Some are quite familiar and still in use today. Others… Well, let’s just say they are colorful and left to be read and amused about.

A Lick and a Promise - To do a haphazard job. "She just gave it a lick and a promise.
Airtights - Canned goods, such as canned beans, milk, or fruit.


At Sea - At a loss, not comprehending. "When it comes to understanding women, I’m at sea.
Bamboozle - To deceive, impose upon, confound. "After Nick had bamboozled about the money, he was arrested.”
Barkin' at a Knot - Doing something useless; wasting your time, trying something impossible.
Barking Irons - Pistols.’
Biggest Toad in the Puddle - The most important person in a group.
Calf Slobbers - Meringue on the top of pie.

Canned Cow - Canned milk.
Conniption Fit - A fit of hysteria.
Come a Cropper - Come to ruin, fail, or fall heavily. "He had big plans to get rich, but it all became a cropper, when the railroad didn't come through."
Disremember - Forget or choose to forget.
Driving the Nail -  A sport consisting of attempts to drive a nail into a post with rifle or pistol fire.
Dumpish - Sad, melancholy
Fetch - Bring, give. "Fetch me that hammer." "He fetched him a punch in the nose."
Fixin' - Intending. "I'm fixin' to get supper started."
Fixings or Fixins' - Cooked food, also called "Doings." Arrangements, embellishments, trimmings, garnishings. The term was also used for the tobacco and paper needed to roll cigarettes.
Get a Wiggle On - Hurry.
Grassed - To be thrown from a horse.
Hitched - Got married.
Hitch in the Giddy-up - Not feeling well, as in: "I've had a hitch in my giddy-up the last couple days."
Keep That Dry - Keep it secret.
Knee-high to a... - Humorous description of short stature or youth. "He ain’t knee-high to a grasshopper.”

Knobs - Spurs
Lands Sakes! -  A more socially acceptable alternative for "Lord's sake."
Lead Poisoning - Shot. "He died of lead poisoning."
Mountain Oysters - Fried or roasted calves' testicles. Also called Prairie Oysters.
Muddy end of the Stick - Short end of the stick.
Mud Fence, Ugly as a - Used to describe someone who was very ugly.
Necessary - Outhouse, water closet; bathroom.
Night Hawk - While the rest of the cowboys slept under the stars on a cattle drive, one unlucky soul who drew the short straw, the "night hawk", had to stay up all night standing guard.
Peskily - Very, extremely, confoundedly. "I'm peskily sorry to hear of your loss.”
Pop Your Corn - Say what you have to say, speak out.
Prairie Coal - Cowchips.

Raft - A large quantity.
Salt Horse - Corned beef.
Simon Pure - The real thing, a genuine fact. "This is the Simon pure."
Skunk Eggs - Onions.
Slap-Jacks - Pancakes.
Talk a donkey's hind leg off - To talk with no purpose.
War Bag - Cowboys traveled light, and stored their meager worldly possessions in his "war bag". Inside was generally everything he owned, typically an extra set of clothes, extra ammunition, spare parts for equipment, playing cards, bill of sale for his horse, and maybe a harmonica or a few precious letters. Also called a "war sack" and a "yannigan bag."
Whistle Berries - Beans.

Found on https://www.legendsofamerica.com/

Sophie Dawson writes sweet, clean romances both historical and contemporary. Her next release is Wanted: Shopkeeper available for pre-order at https://www.amazon.com/Wanted-Shopkeeper-Silverpines-Book-4-ebook/dp/B07BWZ4ZF3

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday the 13th and William Fowler

by Kathryn Albright




I was going to write an entirely different blog post today, when I realized that it was Friday the 13th and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shed some light on this maligned  (perhaps properly so) date.

Friday the 13th and the superstitions surrounding it have misty origins in past Christian culture that you can find with a quick google search, but since here at the Sweet Americana Sweethearts Blog we are interested in all things between 1820 and 1920, I thought I’d cameo the life of William Fowler and his “laugh in the face of superstition” attitude surrounding the number 13.

Captain William Fowler was born in 1827 and attended Public School No. 13 in Manhattan. He graduated at the age of thirteen (which likely wasn’t all that unusual considering public schools generally went through the eighth grade) and began his profession – that of a builder.

Over the course of his life he built thirteen buildings in New York and joined – yes — thirteen secret and social organizations. In one of them, the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, he was the thirteenth member.

On April 13, 1861 he entered the Civil War and was commissioned as an officer. He fought in thirteen battles before resigning as an officer on August 13, 1863. A month later, on September 13th, he bought Knickerbocker Cottage which is located at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 28th Street in New York City. (The above picture is NOT that establishment.) Fast forward a number of years until 1882 when he established his infamous Thirteen Club.

This exclusive society and supper club officially opened on January 13 at 8:13pm with 13 members. At this time, there was an unwritten rule about not having 13 guests around a dinner table due to the superstition that if that occurred, one of the guests would die within a year. Captain Fowler sought to dispel such superstition (or at least thumb his nose at it!) For the next few years, members would meet on the 13th day of each month in room number 13 where they would be served a 13 course meal with 13 candles and spilled salt in front of each place. According to a post of the New York Times Historical Society, the members dined in the room with a banner overhead touting “Morituri te Salutamus.” Translation: “Those of us who are about to die salute you.”


Some of the rules ~

  •     They had to pass under a ladder to enter the room.
  •     They were forbidden to throw salt over their shoulder.
  •     They were to bring umbrellas and open them inside.

After a full year, it was reported by the club secretary that not a single member had died in the past year.
 
Captain William Fowler sold the Thirteen Club on Friday, April 13, 1883, however the society continued and many copy cat clubs sprang up throughout the country. By 1887, five presidents had enjoyed membership at one time or another ~ Chester A Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt.

And Captain Fowler? He died at 70 years of age in his sleep in 1897.

Friggatriskaidekaphobia and Triskaidekaphobia ~ the first means fear of Friday the 13th and the second means fear of the number 13.  (Just in case you want to impress your friends with a big word today!)

***********

What about you? Do you have any superstitions?



Check out Kathryn's books at 
   OR   





Thursday, April 12, 2018

Historic Details in Every Day Life

by Shanna Hatfield

I truly enjoy history and researching it. It's fun for me when I begin writing a new book to dive into historical details that will help add depth and breadth to the story.

I especially think it's important when including historical tidbits to see them through the eyes of the characters in a story. How would the news of a major event cause them to react? What would they think about the event? How would it impact them? By sharing the character's reaction with readers, it helps draw them deeper into the story because it adds another layer of realism to the book.

When I began writing my soon-to-be-released sweet historical romance Quinn, I didn't set out with a plan to include one of the most talked about events in history.

 However, since the opening scene of the book is in early April 1912, right after Easter, it seemed important to include details about the  Titanic sinking.



I dug through issues of the newspaper in the town where the story takes place, Pendleton, Oregon. In the days leading up to the ship's departure, there were articles about the Titanic. Anyone who read the paper would have known it was touted as an unsinkable ship.

The Titanic struck an iceberg late the evening of April 14 and sank into the Atlantic ocean in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

The evening paper ran numerous tidbits of news gathered from articles printed around the world. And those first stories that appeared didn't mention the ship sinking. Most of the news centered on the ship being towed to safety and all passengers being accounted for.

It wasn't until the following day when the news broke that the ship had actually sank and many lives were lost.

The heroine in my story is a newspaper reporter. She would have been elbow-deep in the news, particularly when her editor asks her to take charge of reading the wire messages they received throughout the day and writing headlines.

For weeks, newspapers around the country (and world) ran articles about the Carpathia bringing the survivors to New York, who was at fault for the Titanic sinking, the coffin ships heading out to reclaim the dead, and the hearings that followed in both America and England. 

And people still wanted more. They were hungry for more details, more hope, more humanity from the tragedy.

I found a clipping in the newspaper a month after the Titanic sank from one of the moving picture show houses, advertising a Titanic reel that would show photographs of survivors, the coffin ships and more.

In  Quinn, I have a group of them go to see the reel and share the reactions to what they saw through the eyes and hearts of the characters.



She’s waging a war for women’s rights,
     He’s fighting a battle to win her heart…

There’s nothing typical about Quinn Fairfield. The outspoken suffragette spends her days writing sensational headlines as a newspaper reporter and indulging her natural curiosity. She’s much more likely to be found riding a bicycle around town than learning the social graces at which her sister, Caitlyn, excels. When Caitlyn announces her plans to wed a man Quinn doesn't trust, she sets out to find a reason to break up the happy couple. In the process, she finds herself falling for an intriguing, kind-hearted man.

After spending several years in Portland at college, Walker Williams returns to Pendleton, eager to make his mark on the world. He’s determined to become a legendary architect despite the challenges that arise from his upbringing on the nearby Umatilla Reservation. When a feisty red-headed newspaper reporter catches his eye and captures his heart, Walker fights his growing feelings for her. He’ll do anything to shelter Quinn from the prejudices aimed at him and his heritage.

Can the two of them overcome their fears, set aside the burdens of the past, and surrender to the sweet romance blossoming between them?

Filled with laughter, adventure, and historical tidbits from 1912, Quinn is a sweet historical romance brimming with hope and love.




Today, you can get three books for the price of one!

 AUNDY (Pendleton Petticoats, Book 1) is available for FREE downloads on Amazon today. https://amzn.com/B00D1FYKUM

 MARNIE (Pendleton Petticoats, Book 4) is available for just 99 cents. https://amzn.com/B00KN4TFQ8

QUINN(Pendleton Petticoats Book 9) is available for pre-orders for the special price of $2.99 through April 19, when the book releases. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BYD45W2

~*~

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring has Sprung, Maybe


On March 20 spring came. Or did it?

I’ve seen posts from friends who live in the northeast US telling about the latest snowfall. Snow is still on the ground in some areas in the northwestern states. In Atlanta it’s wet and chilly and the temperatures have seemed below normal since spring started. I’ve seen memes all over Facebook about Spring being late or crazy or still sleeping. So, it seems that most of us are dealing with uncertainties about when we’ll finally see the lovely warm weather and flowers of spring.

 
I’d been wondering when it would be safe for me to put out my herb garden and plant the new annuals in my front yard. I did it the first weekend of spring, but I’ve been nervous a few nights when the forecast said the temperatures would drop into the thirties. I live in the South, for goodness sakes. Shouldn’t we be having milder temperatures by now? At least I have a weatherman to give me some guidance. How did the pioneer people know it was safe to plant?

When I think about my herbs and flowers, in reality, if they’re killed by frost or cold temperatures, I can just replace them when I’m sure the weather will be warm enough for them to survive. The early settlers didn’t have that luxury. They often only had enough seed or money to buy seed for one shot. What they planted would have to feed their family and probably bring in a little bit of money when they sold the excess. They couldn’t afford to get the timing wrong like I can.

 
I found some interesting guidelines from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s  Almanack. I’d imagine most of the pioneer people didn’t own a copy of the book, they simply went about managing their farms from experience and teaching from their ancestors.

“When cottonwood starts to fly, it’s time to plant corn.”

“For every thunderstorm in February, there will be a cold spell in May. “

“When oak trees bend with snow in January, good crops may be expected.”

“If the ash leafs out before the oak, expect a wet season.”

“Frogs singing at dusk indicate fair weather to come.”

“Mist in May and heat in June makes the harvest right soon.”

My grandmother always said that the frost was over when the dogwoods bloomed. She was an avid gardener and was president of her local garden club for most of my childhood—or at least that’s how I remember it.

My research found that much of the folklore hasn’t been proven to be true scientifically. But that didn’t matter to the early citizens of the west territories. They gathered knowledge as they went and improved on every bit of historical advice they could.

Their interest in the true arrival of Spring was intense and their futures depended on getting as much right as possible. While it was also likely they got sick and tired of chilly, wet, unpredictable days just like we do, they're stake was much more about survival. I admire their determination and fortitude.


~~~~~


 

Annie Boone writes sweet western historical romance with a happy ending guaranteed in every single story. Inspiration comes in many forms and Annie finds more than one way to make her stories entertain and inspire.




 

Annie's latest book is the fifth book in the Colorado Matchmaker Series, Selina and Wyatt. Find it on Amazon, along with the complete series.
 


To connect with Annie, find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Follow Annie on Amazon, Bookbub and get email updates.