Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hi Yo Silver and Away!

HORSES ~  I love them.  One reason I have always liked westerns is because of the horses. Silver, Trigger, Fury. Remember them?

I went on vacation and came back to find a visitor in my yard. My son told me the horse was just visiting and mowing grass. So, I call him John Deere.

He must be hungry because I rarely see him with his head up. He's normally munching on the grass.

Thanks to the Spanish Conquistadors, America has horses. It would be hard to think of the Indians charging across the plains, on foot. 
Or a cowboy without his horse.

And while we write sweet romances where the guy gets the gal and all live happily ever after, I like to think of them riding off into the sunset together. 

[Funny side note - my last book ~ Ellen's Lesson in the Sweet Americana Series - Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs. I don't think I have a horse in the book. But I do have a burro named Pickles and her baby - Amerigo.]

So, what color of horse do you like the best? Black, white, red sorrel, bay, paint, Appaloosa, Palomino, Roan?

I can't really decide. 

Watch for more horses in my books and enjoy the stories when horses ran wild, the country was young, and sweet romance moved men and women across the country. 
You can find more of my books on Amazon Books by Patricia PacJac Carroll

Have a blessed day,
Patricia PacJac Carroll

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's All about the Feathers...

Part of the fun of writing "Home to Roost" was that I could include a bunch of 'extra characters' in my story... they were representing something I was missing in my daily life. Don't laugh... my chickens. 

Chickens, plural.

Four of them.

Yes, we used to have chickens at home. Four fluffy, brown mixed 'blood' chickens.
We started our familial love of the feathered beings when my son had his first summer as a Boy Scout Camp Counselor. Assigned to the nature lodge, he wanted to raised some chicks by hand. There were wild chickens in the woods, but catching them without hurting them was going to be an issue. So I found a hatchery, which by good fortune was only about twenty minutes from where we were living.
Two chickens went to Camp Pupukea and came home nearly ready to start laying eggs. They easily became part of our family, but a few months after they came home a neighbor reported a man who ran into our backyard and stuffed both chickens into his backpack and ran away.
My son was devastated.. those were his babies.. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were gone...

Left with a coop and saddened hearts, we didn't stay lonely for long. The hatchery had four extra chicks from a hatching and we took them home.

Things to know.
Keep those little ones warm. Using a desk lamp and the box they came in, we keep our little babies warm on the back porch until they were big enough to keep themselves warm.

When they start laying eggs. Don't leave the eggs in there for long before you remove them from the coop/hutch. If for some odd reason the eggs crack and they eat the insides, they'll develop a taste for it... yick. We found one of those long 'reach' helpers from the store and used those to retriever the eggs from the nesting area. Using your hand can open yourself up to a lot of pain.

Chickens give and receive. We gave them our kitchen scraps (make sure you check before you feed, not all scraps are good for your feathered friends) and in return our garden had free fertilizer. The pesky bugs were extra food for the ladies. And the shells from the eggs can be broken up (read pulverized) and mixed in with soil to add to the health of your yard.

It's a win win all the way around.

But what's the best part of it.. the chickens. Those crazy little cluckers. Two were fun, but four? Holy Cow! Those ladies were a hoot! A stray cat made the mistake of trying to attack one of them and got the receiving end of a whole bunch of angry beaks and a ruckus the likes of which I had never heard before! We never saw another stray cat in the backyard. Apparently, the frisky felines learned which yard to stay away from.

Don't get me wrong.. .those ladies were vicious! But they were also cuddly! They sounded differently when they saw me coming, or when it was my son or my mom. They sounded like they had completely different 'languages' for each of us. Two of them liked hugs. One couldn't be bothered for human contact unless you had a scoop of food in your hand. The last was a crazy little thing who probably had half a brain cell in her head.. but she was a hoot.

They were a ton of fun. They were part of the family, but when we had to move to an area that wasn't rural/animal friendly, we had to give them up. The hatchery found a farmer who had a big coop and a huge yard and wanted more chickens... we all cried the day they went to their new home, but a few days later, we got a call from the farmer. He'd never seen such odd little chickens... well, I guess when you're a part of my family you absorb the crazy.

When I joined in to write a story for the 'Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs' I knew I had to write about chickens, so Quinn ended up having a big ol' flock of feathered friends. The big difference with my life was that we didn't have a rooster at home. We didn't want chicks... just the eggs.

Writing "Home to Roost" gave me the ability to visit with my little feathered friends, if only in my memories and my imagination. I enjoyed my little foray into the world of Livingstone Quinn and his little mud-covered 'Birdie,' Brigid Belham.

I hope you'll get to know my couple and their dozens and dozens of feathered family members!

Click on this image to go to

Love - Romance - Books

Aren't they all the same thing?

Oh, I sure hope so! 

I've been reading romance books for what seems like forever. When I was a teen, the days that I wasn't in dance class after school I'd go to the mall to wait for my mom to finish work for the day and my haunt of choice... Waldenbooks. (I think I just showed my age there.)

Whether it was Scottish Lairds, Medieval Knights, Regency Gents, Rough and Tumble Cowboys, or handsome modern Heroes, I loved them all! There was always another hero and heroine to follow through page after page of breathless love!

I really hope that my readers will enjoy some of the same thrills as discover characters to love between the pages of my books.

Connect with Reina Torres:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday - HOME TO ROOST by: Reina Torres

Today Blog Tour Tuesday features 
Home to Roost - 
Book 7 of Sweetheart of Jubilee Springs Series 
by Reina Torres

About Home to Roost:

She didn’t have a place to belong. He thought he was happy by his lonesome. When she stumbled into his life, everything changed. 

 Brigid Belham had always done what was expected. She worked for her father in his accounting office and managed his home. When he married, she knew it was her time to move on, and traveled to Jubilee Springs to meet a prospective husband. Her ‘best laid plan’ goes horribly awry, leaving her stranded. Caught in a storm of both rain and tumultuous emotions she ends up lost in the woods, until she’s found by a mountain man grumpier than a bear. All he wants to do is send her away. What if she wants to stay?

Most people in Jubilee Springs know him as a hermit, a mountain man who hardly talks and likes company even less. His parents named him Livingstone Quinn, but unlike his namesake, he doesn’t want to explore. He doesn’t want to discover. He just wants his peace and quiet, all by his lonesome with his animals on his homestead. When Brigid literally falls at his feet, he keeps telling her she needs to leave, but shocks himself when he keeps finding reasons for her to stay. What will he do when he runs out of excuses?

In the whole wide world they managed to find each other. Would they walk away from their happiness, or would they bring their love home to roost?

You may purchase Home to Roost by CLICKING HERE.

Chapter One
Turning onto the path behind the saloon, Livingstone Quinn tucked his chin down toward his chest. It was early enough in the day that no one was outside, especially behind the saloon. Even their more devoted customers would have stumbled into their beds a few hours ago, leaving the back-alley quiet, just the way he liked it. He had just enough time to make his delivery and get back to the homestead before the sun hit with its full strength. 
There was a light burning in a window of the Railroad housing, and when he drew closer he could see a dark form shuffling across the floor. For a brief moment, he wondered if the man was just getting to bed, or dragging himself out of it to prepare for the day. There was always someone at the depot, and most times they were awake.
Further down the row, he could see a resolute puff of smoke from the flue at Helsa’s Bath House. The boiler must be piping hot, even at this early time of the morning. He did well enough at the homestead, warming water when the weather made the pond too cold, even for his weathered skin. But as he passed by the back window he got a whiff of something that smelled like a good strong soap. The clean scent followed him as he walked behind the mercantile.
He slowed his steps for a moment as he approached the back of Howard House. The Howards had become his friends over time. They were quiet, but friendly. They didn’t press him to talk and they understood that he didn’t want to stand around wasting time when he came to town. He rarely even saw the Howards since they’d come to their understanding.
The scent of coffee tickling his nose only got stronger when he reached the edge of the mercantile.
Someone cleared their throat in the near darkness. “It’s just me.” He recognized Daniel Howard’s voice, the tension easing from his shoulders. “Having a cup of coffee before I start my day.”
Reaching up to his shoulder, Livingstone tugged at the leather strap and pulled it over the rise and down his upper arm. “I wasn’t expecting you to be up this early.”
He heard the creak of a chair before he saw Daniel lean into the meager light of the lantern by the back door. “I’m usually up this early, I just leave you be for the most part.”
Crossing his arm over his opposite shoulder, he held the top of his pack while he slid the contraption off his other arm. He’d brought the whole pack safely to town from his homestead and having his morning solitude interrupted wasn’t going to play havoc on his nerves. He set the pack down on the edge of the porch and unbuckled the straps. “Well,” he grudgingly admitted, “it is your porch. I've got three dozen eggs for you.”
The sky was lightening, taking on a yellowish tint, enabling him to see Daniel’s smile as he leaned forward and braced his hands on his knees. “That's good. We can certainly use them.”
“Got a full house?” Livingstone winced in the darkness. It helped to keep his distance when he didn't ask questions.
But rather than uncomfortable, Daniel’s voice was warm, as if he was pleased at the inquiry. “We could use more. Maybe another dozen at least for the next few weeks. That is,” he gave a little self-conscious cough, “if you've enough to spare.”
Livingstone had plenty of eggs, thanks to a good-sized flock and a rooster that seemingly appeared out of the blue sky.
He'd already made his decision, but it took a bit to squeeze out the words. “Same price?”
“Sounds fair to me,” Daniel agreed.
“I can bring another dozen when I come. Monday? Friday?”
“Just like clockwork,” Daniel added.
Livingstone looked at the tree at the corner of the building. “You left the money in the tree already?”
Daniel considered his answer. “Yep, tucked into the knot like before.” His tone was cautious, like he didn't want to startle and Livingstone both appreciated it and regretted it. He didn't want to be treated with kid gloves.
“All right, then.” He finished stacking the full half-crates of eggs on the porch and took the empties and stacked them up onto the base of his pack, setting the last full half-crate on the top. “I’ll bring you the extra dozen.”
“I’m not sure,” Daniel added, “I don’t think you can see it on the outside just yet, but we’ve had a bunch of mail order brides arriving in Jubilee Springs. Don't be surprised if your quiet morning walks into town take on a bit of disquiet in about a year.”
Livingstone narrowed his gaze at his friend. “Women sure can talk,” he agreed, “but how much noise can they make in the mornings?”
While he couldn't see Daniel’s exact expression, he could feel his good humor like a strong wind. “Babies cry, my friend. They make a fair amount of noise throughout the day, but mornings-”
“I have a rooster,” he reminded Daniel. “I've learned to get up and on the trail before he gets up.”
A door inside opened and shut with a soft click, pulling Daniel from his chair. “That would be my cue,” he explained. “I've got some work inside.” Livingstone didn't move while Daniel made his way to the door.
Daniel pulled the screen door open and closed it again, turning back to his friend. “If the mood ever strikes you, we’d like to have you stay one of these mornings and have a meal with us.”
Livingstone’s instinct was to hesitate. “I-”
“We've a good group of folks staying with us. Most just keep to themselves,” he added, trying to keep his tone light. Livingstone heard the effort in his tone. “And we have a young woman coming in on the train today.”
Livingstone narrowed his eyes. “Traveling alone?”
The businessman nodded and then shook his head. “She's coming in on the train, one of those mail order brides. Appleton Winslet arranged her room for her for the week.”
Livingstone’s mouth pinched at the corners. “The lawyer?” He cringed at the thought. “Huh, leave it to him to have a fancy degree and order in for a woman.”
He heard the sharp tone in his own voice and huffed out a sigh, shaking his head. He felt the long lengths of his hair sweep back and forth over his shoulders.
“I'm sorry, Daniel.” Livingstone felt a knot in his middle. “That wasn't a polite thing to say. While I don't know Mr. Winslet more than just a few words in passing, he’s never done anything to me personally.”
It took a moment for Daniel to answer back. “I know what you mean, but from what I've seen, he's a real particular person and I just hope that the woman he has coming finds him… amiable.”
Livingstone smiled and felt the coming warmth of the sun starting to play on his skin. “That sounds like a good idea. Amiable. Well,” he grunted, hefting the pack on one shoulder, “I'd better get going. Got to drop off some eggs for the Pastor and get on home ‘fore too many folks find their way on the street.”
Daniel gave him a half wave and disappeared inside.
Livingstone shook his head and let out a puff of air. “Looks like I’ll have to steer real clear of Jubilee Springs if it's going to fill up with women and children.”


When Brigid Belham stepped onto the platform at Jubilee Springs, she willed her hands to stop shaking, but she had no chance of that particular dream becoming a reality. Her nerves had a hold on her that was even stronger than her grip on her valise. The handle, clutched in her grip, pinched her palms and while she struggled to ease the pain in her hands, she was all too aware of the pain in her ribs and waist. Her fashionable corset, the garment sworn to be the height of fashion by the modiste back in Omaha had started out to be such a great idea. But after more than a day locked in that tortuous garment, rattling in a smoky train car, she was regretting her desire to appear fashionable and fulfill the wishes of her prospective spouse.
The hustle and bustle of the train station quickly died down as she stood waiting. There was over a score of men milling about, carrying or moving boxes and transacting their business. No one met her eyes for more than a second, and when they did it appeared to be a mistake or a curiosity and even then, no one seemed to recognize her.
She could blame that on the fact that her photo had been taken before her fine wardrobe had been delivered. She’d settled for loosening her bun that day, and wrestling a smile onto her lips that the photographer said looked quite ‘serene.’ It wasn’t anywhere near pretty or appealing, but it was enough to give prospective matches a clear image of her.
The platform cleared quickly, leaving the clerk and a handful of men who seemed to be sweeping up. Brigid was ready to flag one of the men down to ask for directions.
“Miss Belham?”
With a relieved sigh, she turned in the direction of the voice and stopped short. The man approaching her didn’t bear any resemblance to the man in the photo she had received. Before she could release the handle of her bag and fish out the studio image, the man whisked off his hat and held out his hand.
“So sorry to be late, Miss. I’m Daniel Howard from Howard House.”
Her shoulders sagged in relief. He was from the boarding house where she would be staying while she had the opportunity to meet Appleton. “Hello, Mr. Howard. I wasn’t expecting you.”
He bobbed his head in response. “Mr. Winslet asked me to meet you and see you settled in the boarding house. I believe he plans to be over at the end of his work day.”
She held back her disappointment, settling a quiet expression on her face. “I understand. Thank you.”
Responding with a ready smile of his own, the other gentleman set his hat back on his head, covering the balding pate. “It’s been quite a change in Jubilee Springs, balancing out the numbers of men will take some doing, but it seems like we’ve made a good start.” With a quick signal to one of the men and a coin tossed in his direction, Mr. Howard paid for the men to hold her trunk. “George will keep an eye on your trunk until I can come back for it.” He held out a hand to Brigid to take her valise.
She gave it up gladly and noticed that he didn’t seem shocked by the weight. Still, she apologized. “I can carry the bag if you’d like, Mr. Howard.”
He shook his head and adjusted his hold on the bag. “Not a problem, Miss. I’m used to carrying quite a bit around the house.”
She smiled and stepped off the platform beside him. “It must be interesting as well, meeting people who come from different places.”
Mr. Howard turned slightly to give her a smile. “That is part of what we enjoy about running a boarding house.”
Brigid lifted the hem of her skirt and stepped over a curious looking puddle that made her shudder. When she looked back up she saw the boarding house owner giving her a curious look, looking from her eyes to the top of her hat, which due to her uncommon height was a few good inches over his head. When he saw her look back he coughed, in an uncomfortable gesture.
“Excuse me, Miss.”
She waved off his concern. “No need to apologize, most people just stare openly when they meet me.”
His face went ruddy with color. “I am sorry,” he explained, “I’m not used to seeing a woman of your height.”
Brigid lifted her hand and placed it against her neck, an unconscious gesture that always puzzled her. “One of my teachers showed me a drawn image of an animal in Africa,” she explained, “he called it a giraffe. The children agreed with him and the name stuck. The day before I left Omaha,” she let out a shaking breath, “I saw one of my former classmates. She felt it was so very humorous to remind me of the name. Everyone within earshot heard her, and the rest of the people in the street heard her laughter after that.”
Beside her, Mr. Howard paled and lowered his eyes. “I hope I didn’t make you feel uncomfortable. That wasn’t my intention.”
Brigid hurried her steps and touched him on the arm to draw his attention. They stood at the end of Telegraph Street within sight of the schoolhouse and she gave his arm a gentle squeeze before she dropped her hand back to her side, hoping he didn’t find the gesture odd.
“Mr. Howard, please, don’t worry about me. It’s been a long time since that moment, and I hope that I’ve developed a thicker skin. You weren’t mean, just stating facts. I appreciate your straight-forward manner.”
His smile broadened as he adjusted his hold on her bag. “You’re going to fit right in at Howard House, Miss Belham. You remind me quite a bit of my wife, Clara. I believe the two of you will get along quite well.”
Brigid crossed her hands over her heart, ignoring the slight twinge of pain from her ribs under her corset. “I hope so, Mr. Howard. I truly hope so.”
From the corner, they walked up the street, keeping the park to her right shoulder and the livery on the other. A hand walked a horse out of the barn and Brigid took an unconscious step closer to the street. Mr. Howard reached out a hand and took hold of her arm above her elbow.
“Is something amiss?”
She heard the concern in his voice and felt her cheeks flare with color. Straightening herself away from him, she swallowed and lifted her hand on a wan gesture. “Animals,” she explained, “I don't really feel all that comfortable around animals.” She continued down the street beside him taking quick looks at him sideways. “That must sound horribly silly to you.”
Swinging open the front gate of the property, Mr. Howard tried to hide his grin with the position of his head. “Well, Jubilee Springs does have its share of animals.”
Brigid tripped slightly, making a little skip in her step as she tried to find her footing. The pinch in her side grew as she followed after her host. “Even here in town?”
He stopped at the door, a friendly smile on his face. “Well, the town is likely to grow quickly now that we have more women and soon more children. But,” he paused for a moment as if he was considering his words, “we’re still bordered by the wilderness and animals are a part of that. Don't worry too much.” He shifted her bag to one hand. Reaching and for the doorknob and easily swung the door open. He gestured for her to proceed him inside. “The wild animals we tend to see in town are smaller than your bag.”
Brigid froze just inside the door, shock written across her features. “They’re that big?”
A soft laugh turned Brigid’s head.
“And that,” Mr. Howard announced in a warm tone, “would be my lovely wife, Clara.”
The woman that emerged from the hall finished wiping her hands on her apron. Turning the fabric loose she moved closer. Giving Brigid a bright smile, she held her hand out in a warm greeting. “You must be Miss Belham.” Brigid gladly took the woman’s hand and was pleased to find her hand held in a firm grip. “Pleased that you're here.” She gave her husband a thoughtful look. “I finished cleaning the room at the top of the stairs. Go ahead and put Miss Belham’s things in there.”
Mr. Howard gave his wife a mischievous smile. “And what pray tell, will you and Miss Belham be doing while I'm breaking my back with her things?”
Brigid froze for a moment, her eyes focusing on his face, struggling for something to say, an apology of sorts.
Clara touched Brigid's arm with one hand and waved the other at her husband. “Don't listen to him,” Clara sighed, “he's just hinting at all the work I make him do because he thinks I’ll let him have a piece of cake after supper.” She drew in a breath. “Which he may still get if he stops grumping around and gets your things up to your room.” She turned back to Brigid with a soft conspirational tone. “I will show you where you can freshen up a bit. Then we’ll get in trouble before he returns with your trunk.”
Giving his wife an indulgent smile, Mr. Howard started up the stairs.
“Now, you'll come along with me, my dear. By supper I’ll know everything there is to know about you and we’ll be fast friends.”
Brigid followed along, swept up with the other woman’s gentle enthusiasm. She felt some of the knots in her stomach begin to unravel and she felt her own hopeful nature rising amidst the uncertainty that had held her in its grips since her father’s surprise engagement. 

**Tomorrow is my regular Blogging Day... you'll learn more about my love of chickens.. :D And my book Home to Roost will have changed to its 'Regular Price' of $1.99 - See you tomorrow!!**

Love - Romance - Books

Aren't they all the same thing?

Oh, I sure hope so! 

I've been reading romance books for what seems like forever. When I was a teen, the days that I wasn't in dance class after school I'd go to the mall to wait for my mom to finish work for the day and my haunt of choice... Waldenbooks. (I think I just showed my age there.)

Whether it was Scottish Lairds, Medieval Knights, Regency Gents, Rough and Tumble Cowboys, or handsome modern Heroes, I loved them all! There was always another hero and heroine to follow through page after page of breathless love!

I really hope that my readers will enjoy some of the same thrills as discover characters to love between the pages of my books.

Connect with Reina Torres:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Civil War

Whenever there’s talk of the North and South, a lot of things come to mind, namely the Civil War.

From 1861 to 1865, Union soldiers fought against Confederate soldiers to uphold the Constitution.

The Confederates attacked Fort Sumter shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected. 

Several southern slave states declared their secession from the US to form the Confederate states of America. Northern states, where slavery was legal, were known as the union.

The war lasted more than four years until the Union finally won when Robert E Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S Grant at the battle of Appomattox, but not before approximately three quarters of a million soldiers were killed in combat. The Confederacy finally collapsed and slavery was abolished, freeing approximately 4 million slaves.

Please enjoy the pictures of a reenactment of the Civil War provided by my good friend, Lisa Towns Myers. If you would like to see more of her pictures, please visit Lisa’s country photos at the link below.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Heaven Scent

A brief history of perfume making.

As a writer, I have to research interesting things to power my writing, especially where I’m ignorant to smells, sounds and taste as well as the other two senses we use to process. To provide an accurate representation. I have been introduced to quite a few hobbies because of it.

My latest interest lies with the different scents and perfumes, I associate with characters of my stories. This led to my wanting to know how to make perfume, and if it was possible to make it at home. I’ve since learned it is. I found I can make many scented products if I know how to first create the essential base oils of my fragrance of choice.

You see perfumes are a mixture of aromatic compounds, light oils with little to non of its own odour, alcohol and water. The compound fragrance can be classified into scent groups such as floral, fruity, woody, amber, musk, and oriental. It can further be divided by potency: Real Perfume has the highest concentration of essential oils. There is some arithmetic involved in working out what’s a Perfume, Cologne, Eau de Parfum, or Eau de Toilette. Basically it’s all about the percentage of concentrated oils, the higher the concentration, the more it is consider a perfume, as oppose to the other classification and means the scent last longer.

There is evidence to suggest perfume making began in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Later adapted by the Persians and Romans. The first of the modern perfumes was created in 1370 and spread through Europe. Today, France remains the center of the European perfume industry. The perfume era as we know it due to advances in organic chemistry was more pronounced in the late 19th century, with the creation of synthetic ingredients, and the dawn of great names like Coty, Guerlain, Roger & Gallet.

I could find no detail historical method of how perfumes were made. I can only assume it's probably due to trademark or trade secrets. However, I do believe the basic steps are the same as they were in olden times. Which is to extract the essential oil from whichever compound/s you want to have the scent of. Such as floral, fruity, woody, amber, musk, and oriental. Mix and blend them yourself with alcohol and water until you have the scent you desire.

Here’s a recipe for making Violet essential oil and probably the closest thing to how it was done in the past before there became chemically enhanced. 

Violet Essential Oil Extract:


Glass Jar with lid.


Scentless or mildly scented oil.

The oil used must be safe to put on the skin. Test for allergies.

Pick fresh violets from your garden and lay them on a white clothe in sunlight for a few hours to dry out or get fairly fresh dried violets where you can. 

Break the petals with your fingers to release the smell and put them in the jar. fill the jar to about three quarters of the way from the top of the jar, maybe a little higher.

Pour the oil of choice into the jar to the top. Use a wooden stick or utensils to prod the petals down making sure the oil cover all of the compound, and mix well. Place the lid on the jar and place the jar in a dark cupboard for four weeks. 

Remove from cupboard after four weeks use a glass or metal bowl, place a cheese clothe inside and line the bowl. Use the cheese clothe to strain the oil and soaked violets after emptying into the lined bowl. Squeeze all the oil out and you have your violet essential oil.

If the scent of your essential oil isn't as strong as you'd like repeat using the infused oil with freshly dried violets and returned to cupboard for another four weeks. These steps can be repeated as many times as you'd like until you're satisfied with the strength of the required scent. Finish off by emptying the essential oil into a bottle, label and date it.

Tutorials on making your own perfume can be found on YouTube.

I hope you found this post interesting.

Sandra E Sinclair
For a list of Sandra E Sinclair Books: Here 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Irish Immigrant. She Came, She Saw, She Gave Back.

by Heather Frey

Allow me to introduce you to Nellie Cashman, a fearless, boundary-pushing, territory-exploring Irish woman who saw America as the Land of Opportunity. She came, she saw, she conquered … and she gave back.
In 1850, at about the age of five, Nellie immigrated to Boston with her sister Fanny and widowed-mother. The three spent almost fifteen years together there, but then relocated west to San Francisco around 1872, give or take. Nellie and her mother, both of whom apparently had an adventurous streak, decided to move on to the bustling, untamed mining town of Pioche, NV. They only stayed a few years, but Nellie was deeply involved with the Catholic church there, helping with fundraisers and bazaars. 
When her aging mother decided Pioche was a little too wild for a senior citizen, Nellie took her to live with her now-married sister in San Francisco. Stunningly, Nellie then headed north alone to British Columbia to another rough-and-rowdy mining town. She opened a boarding house in the Cassiar District and tried her hand at mining.
Now, most girls in this situation, hanging around with such an unsavory crowd, might get into mischief, forget their morals. Herein lies the quirky thing about Nellie: she loved to help people, sometimes through hell and high water and avalanches. 
In the winter of 1874-75, Nellie took a trip to British Columbia where she helped establish the Sisters of St. Ann Hospital. Over the coming decades, she would continue to be a stalwart supporter of this hospital, and several others. She also helped destitute miners, making sure benevolence funds were available to them in whatever town she landed.
She is most famous, though, for what she did on the way home. Traveling back to B.C., she heard a blizzard had stranded dozens, if not more, of the folks from the Cassiar district, and they were experiencing a scurvy epidemic, to boot. Nellie immediately hired men and sleds, acquired medicine and supplies and started out for Cassiar. It took the group 77 days in unimaginable conditions to reach the miners. Nellie then worked tirelessly to nurse the folks back to health.
Her feat was so astounding, so brazen, so fearless, the story was picked up by the newspapers. With good cause, she came to be known to the miners as their “Angel of Mercy.”
Nellie was a legitimate legend.
She was also restless, constantly on the move, from one raunchy mining town to the next. After the death of her sister, she continued to feed her wanderlust, but with five nephews and nieces in tow. To keep food on the table, she bought and sold restaurants, and even owned and worked her own claims. She spent several years in Tombstone, AZ where she rubbed shoulders with larger-than-life figures like Wyatt Earp and Johnny Behan. Her faith, however, was as ingrained on Nellie’s heart as cactus in the dessert. Even in wild-and-wooly Tombstone, she worked to build Tombstone’s first hospital and Roman Catholic church.
When Nellie passed away in 1925, she did so in the Sisters of St. Ann hospital that she had funded for nearly fifty years.
I heard someone complain today about how her own life had never really amounted to anything because of a lack of opportunity. Nellie saw opportunity everywhere: opportunities to succeed, opportunities to help others. The Real American Way.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Critical Thinking and History

Post (c) Doris McCraw-writing as Angela Raines

The on-line dictionary defines Critical Thinking as: the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.

As many may know, the other Doris part of me researches and writes about historic events and people, specifically Colorado and Colorado Springs history, along with the women doctors who lived and worked in Colorado prior to 1900.

As I've stated before, it is difficult to divorce myself from preconceived ideas and my own personal experiences. When I find pieces of information, I try to collect as much and from as many different sources as I can, without making any opinion or judgment about what I find, until I've exhausted all options available. Believe me, much easier said than done.

One example: The murder trial that took place in Colorado Springs in 1879. If all I did was accept what I read in the paper, a man shot and killed another and later got what he deserved by being killed in a remote area of the state. There are both fact and opinion stated in the newspaper. But by digging deeper, the story is not so cut and dried. There are still many sources to be found and read beyond those I've located already. Once I have just the facts, then comes the distillation of those facts to find a conclusion. So far I've two other men who were outlaws, living and 'working' during the same time period. In fact two were in the territorial prison at the same time. So, the story is not so cut and dried. The information gathered definitely will require major critical thinking to find the truth based on any and all information found.

When it comes to the women doctors, the standard 'belief and opinion' based on what others have done, is that women had a difficult time entering and practicing in this profession. This had been the case for some, but as more information and resources have become available, the facts are not necessarily supporting the accepted belief. It will take more research, finding more of the stories of these women, before a definite answer is available. However, the answer will not be found if one doesn't question. That is a joy and frustration of research and critical thinking. It is also what drives one to learn and grow.

Have I reach a conclusion regarding the above pieces I'm researching. NO. That will take more research. What I do know is, to accept blindly what everyone says, without being objective and evaluating the information, is doing myself and others a disservice. To me, it has become important that I use critical thinking and do all I can to find the truth to the best of my ability, and form my judgment from there.  I am and never have been comfortable accepting 'opinions' without doing my 'due diligence' as we said when I worked in the Criminal Justice field. 

I had a music teacher once who told be I could sing the song anyway I liked, but in order to do it well, I had to learn it the correct way first.  I took those words to heart, and use them in my historic fiction and non-fiction. I can tell the stories I would like, but first I have to know the facts before I can manipulate them. 

So happy writing and keep the stories coming from your fingertips.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -

also writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blog Tour Tuesday: CHLOE'S SANCTUARY

This week’s Blog Tour Tuesday features
Chloe’s Sanctuary 

Stones Creek Series #3

By Sophie Dawson

About Chloe’s Sanctuary:

A different sort of Mail Order Bride story

Five years ago Chloe Ashburn and her two children were rescued by Nugget Nate and Penny. Since then they’d lived at Nate’s mission for troubled women called Sanctuary Place. Now, with Sanctuary House ready she, and several other rehabilitated women, are moving to Stones Creek, Colorado to find a loving husband. When a person from her past is revealed she worries that her new start might be over for good. She just wants to find a Sanctuary where she and her children can feel loved, wanted, and useful. Can Stones Creek be that place or will she once again be cast aside? Will the men who abandoned her five years ago ruin her chance at a Happy Ever After? Or will she find Sanctuary in the arms of the local blacksmith?

McIlroy has a secret. He lost a wife and family during the Civil War. He wants nothing to do with any of the women at Sanctuary House, or so he tells himself. Yet, he’s drawn to the tall, dark-haired Chloe and her children. Can he learn to forgive himself and allow love into his life again? Or will he push the woman away out of fear and guilt?

Eight women are getting a second chance at Sanctuary House. Will they find it, or is the past too strong to overcome? Will they find husbands for themselves and fathers for their children, or was Nugget Nate wrong to send them here? Can the past be overcome? Is there really a chance for any of them to find Sanctuary? The answers lie in the pages of Chloe’s Sanctuary.

It is a stand alone book but reading the series in order is recommended.
Chloe's Choice Free if you sign up for Sophie’s VIP email list or .99 on Amazon


 McIlroy pounded the nail a last time. He was working on a side of the school building the town’s people were constructing. The goal was to frame and raise the sides of the building during the morning and the roof and siding in the afternoon.
“Would you like a donut and coffee?” It was the voice that caused his chest to ache.
Straightening from his crouch, McIlroy stood and looked at her. “Thank you.”
She was tall and thin. Thinner than he thought she should be. Her hair was shiny black, piled up in that way women did. Her oval face framed large dark eyes. So dark he couldn’t tell if they were a deep blue or brown. She lifted the tray of donuts urging him to take one.
“McIlroy,” Leah’s voice broke through his paralysis. “This is Mrs. Chloe Ashburn. She’s new in town.”
McIlroy wiped his sweaty hand on his britches and carefully picked up one donut between two fingers and his thumb. Leah poured a mug of coffee and handed it to him.
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am.” He glanced down at his hands wondering how he could offer one for her to shake. He lifted the coffee mug as a sort of salute.
McIlroy didn’t have a clue what to say so he took a bite of his donut, getting sugar around his mouth and down his shirt. Not able to brush it off because his hands were full, he licked around his mouth.
Chloe cleared her throat and looked at the ground. McIlroy hoped he didn’t look as dumb as he felt. It was as if he was sixteen again. This wasn’t good. He wasn’t interested in her. He’d had a woman before and he didn’t think he wanted one again. But she sure was pretty.
“Mama, can I have a donut?” It was a little girl asking. She was cute. Black hair like her mother, but with big bright blue eyes. A tightness came around his heart.
“May I have a donut?” Chloe corrected.
“Okay, may I have one?”
Chloe leaned down so the girl could take one from the tray. “Here you go. Mr. McIlroy, this is my daughter Lil-Pen. Lil-Pen this is Mr. McIlroy.”
Lil-Pen gave a small curtsy. “Pleased to make your quaintness.”
McIlroy smiled at the pretty little thing. His heart hurt but he kept his smile clear. “Pleased to meet you, too. So you like donuts, huh?”
“Yes, sir. Mrs. Almeda makes the bestest donuts.”
Several other men came up at the moment. Their intent was donuts and an introduction to the pretty Mrs. Ashburn. McIlroy backed away and turned to look over the crowd milling around the school yard. They’d been working for a couple of hours and were taking a break.
Not only was the day’s purpose to raise the school building, but also to introduce the ladies living in Sanctuary House to more of the community. That’s the way Pastor Preston had explained it anyway. McIlroy took that to mean for the women to meet the men of Stones Creek and the surrounding area.
Everyone knew the reason the women and children were here was to provide wives for the men. This event was a perfect way to begin that process.
McIlroy set his coffee mug down on a pile of boards and brushed the sugar off his shirt. He’d do well to stay away from all the women. Mrs. Chloe Ashburn especially. She reminded him too much of his past. Not that she was similar in looks or physical form, but how that form made him feel.
“Pretty good donuts, huh?” asked Dak Levine, one of the cowboys from the Chasing R Ranch.
“Yeah, they’re Almeda’s. You don’t want to miss them. Coffee’s good, too.” McIlroy looked around and saw several other cowboys from the ranch.
“Mr. McIlroy, Mama told me to ask if you wanted another donut.” Lil-Pen was holding up a plate with several donuts on it. Dak already had one in his hand. The plate was tipped dangerously with the donuts sliding to the edge.
He took one, then decided he needed to be more polite. He gently lifted the plate to be more level. “Thank you. So, Lil-Pen, how are you liking Stones Creek?” It was a question he thought she could answer. He figured she was around five-years-old.
“It’s fun. At least, so far. Dunc isn’t bothering me much. He sure did when we were on the train. He bossed me around something fierce. Mama finally made him stop.”
“Dunc?” McIlroy asked.
“My brother. He’s thirteen and thinks he knows everything. That’s him over there.” She pointed to a skinny youth just on the verge of puberty. He stood with a few other boys who all looked as if they wanted to be doing something like the rest of the men, but didn’t know quite how to start.
McIlroy took pity on them. He remembered being too old and too young at the same time. Maybe he could help them out.
“Lil-Pen, how about you go get another plate full of donuts and meet me over where your brother is?”
“Cause those boys need energy for what I’m going to set them to doing.”
McIlroy went over to Massot and caught his attention. “Massot, how about we set those boys to laying out the boards for the roof struts?” He tipped his head toward the group. “Gives them something constructive to do, and it’s a very important job.” The last words were said in an exaggerated manner.
Massot looked over at the boys and rubbed the stubble on his chin. “McIlroy, you’re smarter than you look. Come on, you can help me explain their job and help lay out the first one so they understand how to do it.”
Lil-Pen and Mrs. Ashburn met him and Massot as they approached the boys. They handed out the donuts as Massot explained what he wanted done.
McIlroy was impressed with the boys’ eagerness to do the job and how they listened carefully to the instructions. Soon the boys were moving the planks into position. They stood watching for a few moments then Lil-Pen pulled on McIlroy’s pant leg. He looked down into the upturned face.
“How come you talk funny?”
“Lil-Pen, that’s rude. Mr. McIlroy doesn’t talk funny. He speaks with an accent. Remember how Uncle Nate speaks with an accent.” Mrs. Ashburn’s cheeks had turned bright red with embarrassment over her daughter’s question.
“Tis fine. Lil-Pen, I come from a different country. I’m from Scotland. I came over to America nye onto fifteen years ago. We speak a wee bit differently over there.” McIlroy strengthened his brogue for emphasis. 
“I like it. Can you teach me to talk like that?” Lil-Pen was jumping with excitement.
“Well, I ken try, but you’ll be a needin’ ta ken ‘at most will na be understood.”
“What did you say?” Lil-Pen looked confused and McIlroy laughed. So did Mrs. Ashburn. Ach, but she was a pretty thing.
“I said I can try to teach you to talk that way but you’ll need to understand that people won’t be able to understand you.”
“Oh.” Lil-Pen drooped, dejected. “I don’t think I want to learn then. Mama, there’s Nancy. Can I go see what she’s helping with?”
“Yes, but be sure to mind the other ladies.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
McIlroy watched the little girl run across the yard. He wasn’t sure how to keep the conversation going. He just knew he wanted to.
“Mr. McIlroy, thank you for getting the boys involved. I heard you speak with Massot about giving them a job to do.”
“Just McIlroy. No mister. It was no problem, Mrs. Ashburn. They looked like they wanted to help but didn’t know how to ask.”
“It’s just Chloe. You don’t need to call me Mrs. Ashburn. Thank you anyway. The boys are good workers and helpful, but they are boys and tend to fall into mischief if not kept busy.”
McIlroy smiled. “Ach, don’t I just know it. I was a boy meself once.”

You can get Chloe’s Choice, the prequel to Chloe’s Sanctuary, for free by signing up for Sophie’s VIP mailing list.
Chloe’s Choice - Chloe was kidnapped as a ten-year-old child. Now she's been abandoned by the gang who held her for years. She's alone, except for her 8-year-old son, and in labor. What choice does she have? A broken down shack, little food and out in the middle of nowhere aren't the way she wants to deliver the baby.
 To purchase Chloe's Sanctuary 
please click here.

About Sophie Dawson:

Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.

Sophie writes Christian fiction(translate that to romance). Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie is branching out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.

Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.

She lives on a farm in western Illinois with her husband and  extremely old cat. She loves reading, sewing, gardening, computer games and traveling. An avid seamstress she was a professional quilter before the writing bug bit. Thankfully, the bite wasn't fatal.

Sophie’s Links: