Wednesday, April 21, 2021

It's Been a Long Time

 Though I haven't been posting, I have been writing, but I've been in a funk so it's been slow. Finally, several projects motivated me to get busy. In the last 12 months, I have published three novellas, all Historical Western Romances. I hope you'll take a look.

Quixie on the Drawthis novella was included in a collection of novellas titled Journey of the Heart.

Quixie O'Connor's overbearing mother orders her to take the stage from San Antonio to Waco to locate her younger brother. One of these days, Quixie hopes to get out from under her mother's thumb and have a family of her own. When the stage is robbed, she is kidnapped and taken to the robber's hideout where she fights to protect her honor and her life. 

Nathan Parker boards the stage to visit his mother and sister in Waco, but he has a deeper mission to fulfill. He enjoys the company of the young Irish woman traveling with them and hopes one day to marry someone with as much wit and spirit. When Quixie is abducted by bandits, Nathan takes on a new mission—rescuing the young woman and claiming her as his own.

Abigail Roche’s parents are murdered by her uncle for their money. She flees Chicago with her baby brother, Jaimie, in her arms to save both their lives. Outside of Denton, Texas, the train is robbed, and she loses most of the money she carried. She uses her vocal training to sing in the town’s Opera House and saloon to support them.

Marshal Pat Hayden is determined to protect Abigail and her brother. She assumes the alias Addy Riley, widow and mother of Jamie. When her demented uncle, Sirus Roche, shows up in town and kidnaps the baby, Pat joins with the town’s sheriff and deputy to save the child and Addy.

Who said opera had no place in a western saloon?

Lacey Faraday is an independent young woman determined to get an education. Her father rebels against her choice when she’s frequently seen picketing on the campus green for Women’s Rights. He insists she marry and arranges a marriage for her.

Brady Callahan, Sheriff of Denton County, is a widower with six-year-old twin daughters who need a mother. He’s been in love before and isn’t in the market for a woman to love, just one who will care for his girls and give him more children.

The two opposites speak vows for practical reasons, only to find themselves on a delicious journey of the heart.

Thank you for stopping by and I'll try to post at least once a month from now on.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Exodus from the Alamo: The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth


I don’t usually review nonfiction. However, I’m making an exception for Exodus from the Alamo: The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth by Phillip Thomas Tucker (Ph.D. history, 1990).   

First, because although I’ve long suspected we weren’t getting an entirely accurate story from our grade school history class, it never occurred to me that almost all of what we thought we knew was wrong. Wrong, or worse, outright lies.

I’ll hit the high points. The Alamo had no strategic value whatsoever and was indefensible. It had never been intended as a fort, it covered three acres, its perimeter wall was about one-quarter mile long and could not have been defended by the 182 men known to have been in the old mission. They were short of gunpowder, food and clothing—and had been before the thirteen day siege began. The majority of the defenders’ bodies were found outside the Alamo, as three separate groups broke out soon after the attack began. Tucker describes several acts of heroism by individuals but none of them had any hope of prevailing and none of them are the ones we hear about in the “legend” of the Alamo. And no, the Mexicans did not suffer thousands of casualties. Their losses were between two and three hundred, including wounded—and a number of those were likely from “friendly fire” in the pre-dawn attack.

And those are only the high points. To learn how this pointless effort was doomed from its conception, you’ll have to read the book. Every time I thought Tucker had revealed the worst failure by those in charge, I was mistaken. The words incompetent, ignorant, and undisciplined spring to mind.

My second reason for reviewing it is his glaring omission of a number of the Alamo’s inmates. Tucker presents convincing evidence of the survival of six or eight of the defenders and what became of them after the skirmish (General Santa Anna’s word). Yet he fails to mention approximately 20 women and children who were present and also survived. He was aware of them, as he quotes from an  account one of them wrote later, and he mentions a woman who tended Bowie during his illness.

What, were they chopped liver? Oh, wait! It was 1836, so women ranked with lapdogs: no need to mention them. However, Tucker is a product of the late 20th century so his silence on the women’s survival seems odd. After the fighting ended (about 45 minutes after it began), Santa Anna issued each woman two silver dollars and a blanket to speed them on their way, one assumes.

Minor details: the first section of the book, dealing with the political background and motivations of the American influx into Texas, is not riveting. Once it moves on to the Alamo and the siege, it is fascinating and horrifying. For those interested in sources, Exodus from the Alamo’s notes and bibliography run to pages.

Better editing might have resulted in correction of some peculiar typographical errors, like "abode" instead of "adobe", "rouges" instead of "rogues", and "would of" instead of "would have".

Even if you have no interest in 19th century America, military history or Texas, I recommend reading it. Ignorance is not bliss.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Take a Visit to The Wylder West

 Our Wylder West series has been a huge success! To date we have six stories published with lots more on the way!  They are as follows, starting with the most recent:

Home in Wylder by Jane Lewis available January 17!

To escape gossip about her disastrous engagement, Sarah Miller flees to Wylder, Wyoming where her aunt owns a dress shop.   But the danger she discovers in the wild west has her ready to board the next stagecoach out of town. 

Daniel Taylor rescues a damsel in distress only to fall in love with her at first sight. The past has taught him that gentle women don't make Wylder their home. He intends to court Sarah, but  braces himself for a broken heart, knowing she will eventually leave  town.

When Sarah is forced to face down the men who have tormented her since her arrival in Wylder, she will have to make the most difficult decision of her life.

Released January 18: Wylder's Magic by Sherrie Lea Morgan

Lillian is devastated. Her goal of owning an apothecary in Wylder, Wyoming is dashed. Her family has promised her in wedlock by proxy, and she hopes her spouse is a reasonable man.  Can they forge a compromise about the shop, as well as their marriage?

Hank's hopes aren't high when it comes to his sight-unseen bride. Heck, he'd settle for a good cook and a warm body. However, Lillian is a lady and skittish as a wild filly—determined to take things slow. She proves her point by sleeping in the guest room.

Just as Lillian begins to fall in love, and yearns to become a true wife, Hank is shot. With potions handed down by her ghostly Gammy she works to keep him alive. Will death come calling or will Hank live to share the last unclaimed piece of property on their homestead…his bed?

Released on December 2, 2020:

A Wylder Christmas by Sarita Leone

Can a Christmas miracle bring a southern belle into the arms of a Union soldier?

Violet Bloom leaves Charleston to come west as a mail-order bride.  But when she steps off the stagecoach, she's greeted by tragic news.  She vows to begin anew in Wylder, to lay haunting memories to rest, and find peace.


Former Union soldier Thomas Harvey's dreams of homesteading are crushed, along with his heart, at the passing of his wife.  He moves to town and struggles to survive—not for himself, but for his spirited young daughter.  

After Thomas rescues Violet during a snowstorm, neither has any thought of romance. But Christmas magic is in the air. It's a time of forgiveness and new beginnings—even for lost souls.   

A Walk on the Wylder Side by Laura Strickland

Outspoken, rebellious Cissy Arkwright was sent west from her Chicago home to work at a boarding house in Wylder, Wyoming. The last thing she expects is friendship with the handsome new boarder, a man with an air of danger and the power to make her smile.

Buck Standish is on the run from his past. He'd like to put aside the life of a gun-for-hire, especially once he meets Cissy. But experience tells him the past has a way of catching up, pistols in hand. He's lost his heart to Cissy—should he protect her by hitting the trail again? Or stay in Wylder and fight for their future?

Wylder Hearts by Kim Turner

Caleb Holt is the man to see for a good horse. Abuse an animal and he'll teach the lesson that goes with it. When he lands on top of a woman in the midst of a brawl and  snags a passionate kiss, he sparks a fire he never expected.  But it doesn't take the cowboy long to learn a lesson of his own… sometimes love comes with a price. 

Seamstress Laurel Adams is embarrassed by Caleb's stolen kiss.  Though she is determined to raise her son alone, she wonders at the ease of falling for the handsome horseman. But when the husband who abandoned her returns, there is only one choice to make—the one that breaks her heart into tiny pieces.  

The Wylder County Social Club by Nicole McCaffrey

Eliza Jane O'Hanlan is called west to care for her ailing mother.  Raised by a spinster aunt, she only knows that her mother is a successful businesswoman.  When she arrives in Wylder she is shocked to learn her mother is the town madam. But the secrets don't end there…

Doctor Sam "Coyote" Sullivan saw enough suffering and dying in the war to last a lifetime.  He is more than happy to help the town madam keep her girls free of disease—and worse.  The moment she arrives in town, the madam's daughter makes it clear she doesn't approve of her mother's unconventional methods—or him. 

Before long, Eliza doesn't just have the town of Wylder in a stir.  She has Coyote pretty stirred up, too.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Sources for detail on 18th century life and matters


I’ve written posts on historical detail before because I’m a little compulsive about it. Below are a few new resources (plus some I may have mentioned earlier). Many are Georgian but some contain links to other periods. 


There are links to several resources here but I use it for N. Bailey’s 1737 dictionary of canting (criminal) slang.

A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, by B.E. Gent.

Originally published in 1699, there is some overlap with the Bailey dictionary, but it also contains hunting terms (“Yearn: When beagles bark and cry at their game”) and slang terms generally.

And this: Webster's Third Dictionary (of American English; 1828) Searchable. Perhaps useful.

Bailey's 1763 Dictionary, searchable, and viewable and downloadable as an image of the original: An universal etymological English dictionary

A bit about the book: An Universal Etymological English Dictionary - Wikipedia ...and there's more at the bottom of that page than you might ever want to see.

Useful for checking for the first known use of English words and terms.

Early Modern English Dictionary (16th-18th century)

Contains several excellent resources.

And this curious one, a treatise on understanding British-American handwriting and printed text, with notes on the language:

How to Read 18th Century British-American Writing

Period Detail:

Eighteenth Century London Life by Rosamund Bayne-Powell

English Country Life in the Eighteenth Century by Rosamund Bayne-Powell

Travellers in Eighteenth Century by Rosamund Bayne-Powell

Housekeeping in the Eighteenth Century by Rosamund Bayne-Powell

The English Child in the Eighteenth Century by Rosamund Bayne-Powell

These are all out of print but available from online used book sellers. Full of useful details culled from the letters and essays of the period.

A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, by Daniel Defoe

Written between 1724 and 1726, it contains a wealth of local color and a good deal of information about trade. Try to find a copy with print that isn’t teeny-tiny.


18th century dances performed. There were more dances than just the minuet.

Specifically Georgian sources and information:

Full of interesting and useful Georgian sources and information. There’s a collection of terms for various occupations. “Green bag” was a term for a lawyer; Tom Turd was a night-soil collector.

What They Ate:

A collection of cookbooks online by period. What people ate in the Georgian or Regency periods was quite different from what we eat today, or even what we ate a hundred years ago. More online cookbooks, from the Middle Ages on, including European cookbooks, and links to other useful sites. Some of the European collections have been translated. 


Weather in Great Britain, by year, from 1700 to 1849.

Medical matters:   (11th c. AngloSaxon herbal)

(Medieval Herbal Remedies: The Old English Herbarium and Anglo-Saxon Medicine by Anne Van Arsdall is a translation of above 11th c. Anglo-Saxon herbal).

A medieval cure that seems to work.


LACMA historical patterns downloads for a variety of periods.

Instructions for Cutting out Apparel for the Poor, printed 1789, available for free on Google Play Books. 


The Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799, edited by Sir John Sinclair, reprinted 1900.

I found copies of two volumes (there were twenty volumes in all) online for a dollar each. With shipping (from Scotland) the order came to under $10. They’re fat books, with more detail than even the most OCD writer of historical novels needs. On the other hand, they contained some tidbits of information that were well worth the price for the background I needed. They contain sections on each Scottish region with a description of the terrain, climate, statistics, natural resources, local history, and so forth, by parish. 


For example, the parish of Auchtertoul, Fife, contains sections on the origin of its name, size and surroundings, terrain and soil, minerals, climate, population, including the number of persons practicing various trades, agriculture, church, schools, the poor, and miscellaneous observations.


As the series was published in the 1790s, most of the information should still be relevant into the early 19th century, and a good deal of it is useful for the earlier part of the 18th century as well.


Be advised that having been printed originally in the 18th century, you will have to become accustomed to the “s” in some words looking like an “f”.   


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Discussing Historical Fiction

I have the honor of being a speaker at this years's Kansas Author's Club Convention ( where I will be speaking about writing Historical Fiction.

For me, it is a great opportunity to give back after all the years I have been attending conferences, a chance to promote my work as well as The Wild Rose Press.

Please take the opportunity to share the link with your various social media accounts.

As always, thank you for your support.