Madonna of the Trail by Kaye Spencer #westernromance #OldWestHistory

Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes historical, paranormal-lite, and contemporary romances from her basement utopia in a small, rural town located in the heart of the infamous Dust Bowl area of the 1930s. Kaye grew up on a cattle ranch in northeastern Colorado, where she spent hours reading Louis L’Amour’s westerns, listening to Marty Robbins’ gunfighter ballads, and watching the old (now classic) television westerns and western movies. Kaye is retired from a career in education, which included teaching, administration, and psychology. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. She and her husband share their home with a menagerie of pets.

I’m delighted to have her visit here.

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Madonna of the Trail – Lamar, Colorado – west side

Fifty miles from where I live is a statue of a woman. She is called the Madonna of the Trail. She is one of twelve identical statues along the National Old Trails Road, which is, generally speaking, U.S. Hwy 40. These statues have historical inscriptions specific to each statue’s location. The National Old Trails Road was the route pioneers of the covered wagons era often traversed in their journey toward the promise of a new life in an untamed land—The West.

The Madonna of the Trail project began in 1911 when the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) established the National Old Roads Committee. The goal of this committee was to memorialize the Old Roads Trail and have it renamed the National Memorial Highway. By 1912, plans were underway to further commemorate another important aspect of this road, which was to acknowledge the role that women played in westward expansion. The concept of these statues evolved with the plan to erect one statue in each of the twelve states connected by the National Old Roads Trail.

Madonna of the Trail – Lamar, Colorado – east side

World War I put a temporary hold on the “Pioneer Mother Movement”, but the committee chairwoman, Arlene B. Nichols Moss of St. Louis, persevered. Her vision of the madonna was inspired by the Sacagawea statue in Oregon. Standing firmly alongside Mrs. Moss in her determination to see her statue project to fruition was the president of the National Old Trails Road Association—a not-so-well-known Missouri justice of the peace named Harry Truman. He believed strongly in this project, and he helped get it through Congress at a cost of $1,000 for each statue.

1927 arrived with an approved design by the artist and sculptor August Leimbach. The statues were made using poured algonite stone, which is a mixture of substances. The primary ingredient is Missouri granite.

Originally, all the statues faced generally west, but many years later, a few were

Map with locations

repositioned to accommodate specific site’s situations. The west and east sides of each statue’s base carry the same inscriptions, and the north and south sides bear local information.

south side

Each statue is eighteen feet tall and weighs about five tons. The base is ten feet high and the madonna is eight feet tall. The stone is a warm pinkish-brown. The mother wears the ubiquitous pioneer woman’s long dress, bonnet, and sturdy lace-up boots. She holds a rifle in one hand, an infant in her other arm, and her little boy clutches her skirts.

The mother’s face is set in a determined and focused expression as if she can see her future and that of her children’s somewhere ahead in that far and distant land upon which she has set her hopes and dreams. There is a look in her eyes that says nothing will keep her from reaching her new home—wherever that home may be.

Truman personally dedicated each statue (1928-1929). At the Ohio dedication

north side

ceremony, he acknowledged* ‘the intrepid women’, which included his grandmothers ‘who endured the bone-wrenching weariness and difficult travel’. He went on to say, “They [the women] were just as brave, or braver, than their men because, in many cases, they went with sad hearts and trembling bodies. They went, however, and endured every hardship that befalls a pioneer.”

Wishing you Happy Trails,

Kaye Spencer

Writing through history one romance upon a time

For further reading:

The website, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, Madonna of the Trail, has detailed information about each statue: http://pioneermonuments.net/highlighted-monuments/madonna-of-the-trail/

Other References:

-Roadside America. Madonnas of the Trail. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/28991. May 2017.

-*Santa Fe Trails Scenic and Historic Byway. Madonna of the Trail. http://www.santafetrailscenicandhistoricbyway.org/madona.html. May 2017.

-Map. Madonna of the Trail. http://www.routefast.com/#. May 2017.

-Lamar Ledger. Discover Southeast Colorado. 2018 Travel and Tourism Guide for Southeast Colorado. Historic international trade route. Brochure/Magazine. Pg. 22. May 2018.

-August Leimbach, sculptor. Madonna of the Trail Monument. https://web.archive.org/web/20120415122741/http://www.kevinkarlstudio.com/AL/Madonna_of_the_Trail.html. May 2018.

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The Comanchero’s Bride by Kaye Spencer

Beautiful heiress Elizabeth White is exiled to Texas until she agrees to marry the prominent politico her parents have chosen for her—Grayson Beal. When Elizabeth is approached at a fiesta by dark-eyed, handsome Mingo Valderas, her heart will never be her own again. But Mingo has a reputation as a Comanchero—a man who is as fast with his knives as he is with his gun. Still, Elizabeth gives her trust to him, and their whirlwind courtship begins. Beal will stop at nothing to claim Elizabeth—and only one man can protect her. Elizabeth and Mingo stay one step ahead of Beal…but will that be enough?

EXCERPT:

At the livery, Mingo remained in the shadows where he could see both ways along the street. Opening the wagon doors just wide enough to allow him to pass through, he eased his way inside. Speaking in a low soothing tone to his horses, he packed and saddled them under the moonlight coming in from two windows. Opening half the double doors, he led the two riding horses out the back, tied them to a corral rail, and returned for the packhorse.

He no more than reached the packhorse when a cold voice in the shadows stopped him in his tracks.

“Don’t turn around, Valderas.”

Mingo froze. A few more steps and he would have been on the off side of the packhorse, but where he was, he had no protection.

“I’ve got a good bead right between your shoulders. I know about your fast draw and the price on your head. I’ve also heard stories about your throwing knives, so keep your hands where I can see them.”

“You know me. But who are you? What do you want?” Mingo didn’t care. He knew the challenge from the shadows was a bounty hunter. He needed the man to talk so he could pinpoint his location.

“I came out of El Paso. A man named Jack added to the price on your head—dead or alive—and some politician is offering a pretty penny on top of that to bring in the woman you have with you. He wants her alive.”

From the sound of the man’s voice, he hadn’t moved and was off to his right. Mingo fought the urge to whirl and fire, but shooting blindly was not his way. He wouldn’t risk wild shot that could injure a horse, and gunfire would bring others into the fray. Shadows were both his enemy and ally, depending upon how he used it.

“The way’s clear behind you, so back towards the open wagon door, and keep your hands away from your body. When I heard the talk of a Mexican man traveling with a white woman, and they were staying at the hotel, I fig-ured I’d hit pay dirt. I was just supposed to worry you into making a wrong move. Never thought I’d be the one to catch you.

“I’m taking the woman to El Paso. You, I’m locking up in the back room of the saloon for safe keeping…unless you give me an excuse to kill you right now, which I’ve a yearning to do. I can’t miss at this range. It wouldn’t do my reputation any damage to be the man who took down Mingo Valderas.”

Now, he knew who he was up against. Earl Johns was vicious and a killer, a back-shooting coward. Mingo inched backward, buying thinking time.

“Where’s the woman, Valderas?” “There is no wom—”

“She’s too close for your comfort.” Elizabeth’s voice cut through the night. The sound of a shotgun hammer pulling back was an angry, lethal sound that made the hairs on Mingo’s arms prickle.

BUY LINK:   The Comanchero’s Bride is available in print, for Kindle, and with KindleUnlimited.

The Comanchero’s Bride is also one of six full-length novels in the boxed set Under a Western Sky, available on Amazon

You can find Kaye at:

Website/Blog- https://www.kayespencer.com

Instagram – kayespencer

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/kayespencer

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/kayespencer

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kayespencer23

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/author/kayespencer

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayespence

Prairie Rose Publications – http://prairierosepublications.com/

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/kayespencer0203

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THE SYSTEM DIET – OR, When Cheese Is a Powder in a Cellophane Packet

Life as an author is not always what it’s cracked up to be. Nowadays, we’re told sitting for any length of time is as bad as a pack a day, our eyes need to refocus on something in the distance every twenty minutes, and carpal tunnel syndrome will be ours from moving that mouse around. To add insult to injury, many of us, myself included, get a spreading derriere and pack on the pounds from that lack of exercise. Since we are now bombarded about system diets on television and newspapers, with pop-ups popping at us all over the place, I decided to be a guinea pig rather than just a fat pig and try one. Oh, okay, so a looming bathing suit vacation had a little to do with it . . . . Continue reading

NOW AVAILABLE ON AUDIBLE!

My western historical novella, Lawless Love, is now available on Audible, at all places Audible is sold.  Listen to the not-so-dulcet tones of Jeffrey Fallin as he reads, over at  https://www.amazon.com/Lawless-Love-Lawmen-and-Outlaws/dp/B078KH5WPS/

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He’s never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he’s followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers…but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

We’re Playing Santa!

As I write this, there’s less than a month to go to Christmas and, for me, even less than that ‘til I may move house. I’m just waiting for a few things to fall into place—here in NYC, if you live in a Co-op, which I do, you need Board approval of your sale after contracts have been signed, and I’m still waiting to hear about that. So I have no real idea where I’ll be for Christmas, but wherever I lay my head, I do know I’ll have the comfort of my family and will be looking forward to a merry time. Continue reading

A Targeted Journey by Carmen Peone

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome back Carmen Peone.  Carmen is not only a fellow member of Women Writing the West, but is currently President Elect.  She lives on the Colville Confederated Reservation with husband, Joe. Carmen had worked with elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural Continue reading

For Your Halloween Enjoyment

I never thought I’d write a so-called ‘paranormal’ western, but last year I did.  It appeared in the anthology The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly and is titled Long a Ghost, and Far Away.  Also in that anthology was Patti Sherry-Crews’ The Ghost and the Bridegroom.  Since the anthology only made a brief appearance but garnered a raft of good reviews, Patti and I decided to revive our stories in a duet now on sale at all good eBook-sellers.

The Wild West gets even wilder when Nat Tremayne sends out his agents from Psychic Specters Investigations offices in St. Louis and Denver. Across country and across time, these agents will stop at nothing to unravel the mysteries that beset poor unsuspecting ranchers and cowboys who have no idea what they’re seeing . . .or not, as the case may be.
In Patti’s The Ghost and The Bridegroom, P.S.I. Agent Healy Harrison is sent to Tucson to rid a rancher of the ghost in the bedroom interfering in his marriage to a mail-order bride. Healy doesn’t think she’s destined for romance–until she meets Pinkerton detective Aaron Turrell. But when their two cases dovetail, will their newfound love survive the ultimate showdown  between mortal and immortal.

In  my own Long A Ghost and Far Away, agent Dudley Worksop aims to unravel the mystery of Colby Gates’ dead wife. Lizzie not only seems to have reappeared as a ghost, but has time traveled from 2016 to the 1800s. Can revenge be had for her murder? And can the couple be reunited across country and across time?

Amazon Reviews from previous anthology edition:

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing – is my absolute favourite as I love time travel stories & who doesn’t love added a unique twist like ghost. This story is brilliant written and unique. The character’s are very well developed and great to read about this amazing journey.

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews- This novella is very well written and it is very compelling & leaves you wanting more. The character’s are realistic with real emotions and flaws.
I highly recommend reading this . . . as you will not be disappointed. Just in time for Halloween go grab it now. . . .

–Sophie Koufes

My favorite was Long A Ghost and Far Away. I loved Lizzie and Colby’s story. I actually laughed out loud at Lizzie and when she went back, I cried but I loved the ending. Great story.

–Susan K. Davis

The Ghost and the Bride Groom – 5*

Wow! What an amazing book! I have never read any books by this author before reading this book and i am so glad that i came across Patti Sherry-Crows as her books are so alive and vibrant (i would imagine her other books are the same as this).
You feel every single thing that happens in this book, you feel the fear and pain along with the hope of what could come and the sympathy you feel for the characters.
The book was written in a way that feels so real to you while you are reading it. It is a highly addictive read, compelling you to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Healy is an amazing, inspiring character. I loved reading about how strong and independent she is, she relies on herself and is guarded but deep down she is so full of love that she believes she will never have.
I really enjoyed Aaron’s character. He has also got a strong and independent mindset making them the best match full of fire and passion. He comes across as a very charismatic and protective character.
I absolutely loved this book and i would recommend this book to everyone and anyone! A must read!

–Lyn McKenzie

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing
What a great story! It shows that love is truly timeless and sometimes you just know who your soulmate is, even after a short time. However, this wasn’t a neatly wrapped with a bow story. It had some twists that I didn’t see coming, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron (Oh my!) had me laughing so much. Loved it!

–Dali

Long a Ghost and Far Away – Andrea Downing
I love the romance between Lizzie and Colby. That’s what one calls a love to test time! I liked how the author intertwined real life events into the story to make it seem more realistic too.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom – Patti Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron are rather comical together and also rather sweet. This was a really good tale. I liked the interaction with the elusive Nat Tremayne as well and what it hinted at. I also like the twist in the book.

–Jennydm

REVISITING THE SEVENTIES

I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sowing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few Continue reading

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY ROAD

It’s a tradition that August is a time for travel and when someone says ‘travel’ nowadays, I think ‘Road Trip.’ While I’ve recently lost my main travel partner, my daughter, to marriage, I can speculate that some time in the hopefully not too distant future, I might be relegated to a back seat, overseeing child or children, while husband and wife share driving to some enchanting site I’ve longed to see. Continue reading

Carra Copelin

Although with working on an anthology  you rarely get to meet the other authors in person, you still get a good idea of them through your correspondence.  That said, it’s been a pleasure working with Carra Copelin. Carra is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author Continue reading

Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Romance Novels for the Beach

The trickiest thing when it comes to summer romances? There’s always a time limit. Sooner or later, the summer must come to an end.

What’s it About? 

bad boy, big heart

When New Yorker K.C. Daniels heads to Wyoming for a summer job, she wants nothing more than to fit in with the staff of the Lazy S Ranch. Yearning to be independent of her mom and dad, and have a taste of the west before she starts her Master’s degree, getting involved with a cowboy is the last thing on her mind—especially when she’s greeted with warnings about ‘Bad Boy’ Chay Ridgway.

High school dropout Chay Ridgway sees summer as his time to be a rodeo star and win a girl in his life, while facing the responsibilities he has for his father. Although working to bring in cash to help his dad, he’s never had a problem finding a woman who’s happy…

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