Category Archives: History of the West

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 traditions and legends. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her Native husband and they moved to the reservation after college. Later, an idea for a story persisted in her head so she decided to write what came to be, Change of Heart.

Then came Heart of Passion, Book 3 in a trilogy about Spupaleena, a young Native American girl, coming of age and racing horses in the mid-1800s, a time when girls would not think of behaving in such a manner. Hannah Gardner was five then, a young girl in love with her adopted Aunt Spupaleena and having a strong desire to emulate the young woman. In Hannah’s Journey, Hannah is sixteen and has to decide if her future is to include horses, racing, a husband, or returning home to enjoy her young life within the strength and protection of the family unit.

Carmen has very graciously offered to give away one copy of Hannah’s Journey to someone leaving a comment below.  The winner is Alice Trego.

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The thwack of an arrow sinking into a target pumps blood swiftly through veins. But when fifty hit at a time, echoing off gym walls, the hair on the back of a mother’s neck raises, and a shiver sizzles down her back.

Parent’s cheer. Teammates send out shouts of encouragement. Coaches praise and advise.

For the last five years, I’ve been one of those coaches. Through grants, archery is the highest attended sport in the local K-12 school on the reservation I reside with 3 student-athletes qualifying for Nationals in 2017 in Kentucky. Speaking of a life-changing journey! And it was those girls I escorted to Louisville.

As a lover of the sport, it’s only natural to place bow and arrow in fiction. But not compound bows crafted from aluminium alloy or arrows formed from aluminum, or fiberglass. The bows and arrows in my historical fiction are made of what my husband’s Native American ancestors used–yew wood, rock arrowheads, quail feathers, pine or cottonwood bud resin. The rough stems of horsetail were used like sandpaper to smooth jagged edges.

Light to carry, bows were effortlessly hand-carried on foot and even easier to transport while slung over one’s neck and shoulder on horseback.

To raise the stakes among my female protagonist, Hannah Gardner not simply raced horses, but deftly shot at leaves stuck on trees with pine pitch and thick branches stuck into the ground. She and the other jockeys shot them from the backs of horses at high speeds. Today, mounted archery is a fast-growing sport. Hannah and her mare, Moonshine, begin with a walk and quickly advance to a faster pace. Bareback.

For my upcoming launch party, I borrowed a friend’s prairie clothes and rode my Paint gelding in our back pasture that overlooks the Columbia River–the actual setting for my YA books. I used my compound bow and arrow while my husband, Joe, was kind enough to shoot several fun pictures. If only I’d had my hands on traditional gear.

Archery was a means of survival in the old days. Today it’s not only used for hunting, but for sport. My husband and sons are avid archery hunters, a skill I admire. It’s rewarding to bring the best of both worlds and blend them together in my new release–Hannah’s Journey.

In my Young Adult novel, Hannah is sixteen and has to decide if her future is to include horses, racing, a husband, or returning home to enjoy her young life within the strength and protection of the family unit. Hannah spends some of her time chewing on life’s complications while staring down the shaft of an arrow after running away with friends.

The finale involves a final race scene that embraces horses and archery. And again to increase stakes, knife throwing.

The thwack of an arrow skidding into a round target or tree is enough to scamper shivers down any archer’s arms. It was for Hannah.

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Hannah’s Journey

In the mountains of northeast Washington, sixteen-year-old Hannah Gardner fights for her childhood dream––to race horses with her adopted Indian Aunt Spupaleena. Her mother fears Hannah will get hurt. Frustrated with her daughter’s rebellious spirit, she threatens to send her away to Montana to live with an aunt Hannah’s never met.

To escape this perceived punishment, Hannah runs away to the Sinyekst village along the Columbia River to train with Spupaleena. After Hannah’s first race, an Indian boy pulls her off her horse and spews threats. When Running Elk comes to her rescue, Hannah plans their life together and possible marriage. Will this be the pathway to her freedom?

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Excerpt

Loot!” Running Elk once again uncinched my saddle. He sneered at Falling Rain and motioned for her to set hers on the ground. With a scowl she complied.

I groaned, slid the saddle off Moonie, and set in on the grass. With an extra-hard whack, I settled the pad on top.

Falling Rain set hers back down.

They hopped on their horses with ease. I tried to lift myself up with a couple hops, but failed. I led Moonie over to an old log and heaved myself on her back. The other two looked at me like I was about to give them something bitter to taste.

“Well? Let’s go!” The word patience came to mind. I scoffed and planted the pouch hung around my neck inside Delbert’s shirt. As heavy as Falling Rain’s doeskin dress and leggings were, I was amazed by her agility. I was thankful for boys’ britches. I couldn’t imagine hopping up on Moonie with a dress and all the underclothing required by a lady. But then again I’m no lady. Not yet anyway.

We raced up and down the meadow and somehow I managed to stay on. Until Running Elk had another harebrained idea.

“We could attach leaves on sticks and shoot them with arrows.” He turned and rode into the woods. A loud war-whoop echoed through the valley.

“This will be fun!” Falling Rain said.

I rolled my eyes, nearly toppling off Moonie. I swear I saw my horse roll her eyes, too. “I do not favor a bow like you two. I’ll watch from over there.” I turned to ride off.

Loot!” Her sharp voice sliced the air.

I spun Moonie around and faced her, eyes wide. “Why not?” I’d never heard her use such a tone.

“I will teach you. It is easy.”

“Easier than fishing with a net?”

Falling Rain laughed. “Much easier.”

I doubted that, but agreed to give it a try. Falling Rain and I rode to the opposite side of the meadow. She insisted we remain seated on our horses since we’d be riding them and shooting from that height. I groaned. But knew she was right.

She pinned a leaf to a tree with sap, moved back beside me on her mare, and drew an arrow. After drawing back her bow, she released. A swoosh stung the air. The thwack the arrow made into the tree echoed. She made it look so easy.

An over-exaggerated sigh escaped my lips. “Give me a rifle and I can kill a spider on a rock at twenty yards. I am not certain I can hit a leaf with a stick.”

Falling Rain chuckled. “Pretend it is your last meal.”

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You can discover more about Carmen at:

Website/blog: http://carmenpeone.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarmenEPeone/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carmenpeone

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/carmenpeone/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jcpeone/

 

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A Brief History of the Volga Germans

eunice-photoBack around 2012, when I first joined ‘Women Writing the West’, I somehow managed to start a correspondence with a fellow author in Kansas—Eunice Boeve. One might think that a romance author sitting in NYC and a predominantly YA and western author living out in KS had nothing in common, but Eunice and I have found a lot of common ground and continue our correspondence to this day. Continue reading

Following Maria’s Journey by Anne Schroeder

anne-croppedFellow member of Women Writing the West and Past-President (2015), Anne Schroeder writes memoir and historical fiction set in the West. She has won awards for her short stories published in print and on-line markets. She and her husband, along with their new Lab puppy, live in Southern Oregon where they explore old ruins and out-of-the-way places. Her new release, Maria Ines, is a novel about an Indian girl who grows up under Padre Junipero’s cross and endures life under the Spanish, Mexican and Yanqui conquest of California.  You can learn more about Anne at http://www.anneschroederauthor.com and read her blog at http://anneschroederauthor.blogspot.com Continue reading

A Fence Around Her: Double-jacking Competitions

brigid-amos-headshot Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. As a  playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of  the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart Continue reading

Stepping Back in Time

anitaphilmarppAnita Philmar likes to create stories that push the limit. A writer by day and a dreamer by night she wants her readers to see the world in a new way.

Influenced by old movies, she likes to develop places where anything can happen and where special moments come to life in a great read.

Naughty or Nice?

Read her books and decide.


One of the reasons we enjoy reading historical fiction is because it gives us a chance to step back in time and experience another way of life. In McKee’s Ghost, we travel to Nebraska positioned in the heartland of America.

The small town of Shelton, Nebraska, has an interesting history starting with the way it acquired its name. Its original name was Wood River Centre and it is one of the oldest communities in Nebraska. The Great Western Stage Company established a stop here on it’s route to Fort Kearney. Years later, the Union Pacific railroad decided to use this town as a stop on its line to the west coast.

Patrick Walsh, the postman for this small town, wanted the name changed because of the confusion it had with another small community call Wood River. In 1873, he wrote the Postmaster General pleading for a new name. He renamed the post office to Shelton after Nathan Shelton, an auditor for the Union Pacific Railroad.

The town’s name shows no record of ever being officially changed. Probably to end the confusion with the other city, the citizens just started using the same name as the post office, and the name stuck.

Another interesting fact about the town is some of the residents of Shelton and Buffalo County raised Draft horses. The huge creatures were a much-needed asset for farmers. These animals were used to do the heavy lifting for their owners. Not only did draft horses plow the fields but also helped with other chores. These amazing creatures have a gentle disposition and don’t spook easily, making them perfect to have around a growing family. Living for twenty to thirty years, these animals were a solid addition to a farmer’s family.

Today, this area has a solid reputation of having some of the best breeders of draft horses in the state. Even today, the draft horse pull is one of the most popular events at the Nebraska state fair.

Like so many small towns across the country, Shelton, NE, has a unique history and has created a proud legacy of hardworking people building a solid future for their residents.


TGTBTGFInalCoverAbout McKee’s Ghost

His fiancée called off their engagement after be accosted by a ghost in his house.

Now, a beautiful ghost detective has shown up at his ranch, saying his brother has hired her to take care of the unwanted spirit.

Konnor McKee is more than happy with PSI Agent Ruth Oliva Wilson. One look and he was hooked. Now, if he can only get some help from a ghost, he might be able to secure himself a bride after all.

With the return of his ex-fiancee, his life is turn upside down by an angry ghost, a vindictive woman and a sexy medium. Konnor doesn’t know which way to turn.

Can he get everyone out of this alive and marry the PSI Agent?

Or has he lost all hope of a happy future because of the ruthless ghost of one of his ancestors?

Excerpt for McKee’s Ghost

The hands he’d dropped to her waist shifted. One drew Ruth deeper into his embrace while the other nudged her chin up with a knuckle until their eyes met. His searing gaze lit a fire, heating her core and arousing every cell in her body.

“No. The gentleman in me heads south whenever you enter the room. All I can think about is getting my hands on you.” Konnor sprayed his palms over her back and tugged her deeper against his chest. “I want you in a way I’ve never wanted a woman before, under me screaming while I make you completely mine.”

She gasped. “But you don’t even know me.”

“You’re wrong. Some instinct inside me knew the moment we met you belong to me. Now, all I need to do is convince you of that fact.” He dropped his mouth over hers. His kisses were gentle and sweet one moment, demanding and urgent the next.

The crisp flavor of the apple he’d just eaten played over her taste buds. Pleasure overruled the sound logic of keeping him at a distance. Instead, she gave into the tempestuous assault to her senses and slid her arms around his neck. Minutes passed. The hunger inside her growing until she couldn’t catch her breath.

He tore his mouth from hers, and she gasped for air. “Please, sweetheart, I’m not a patient man, especially when I’ve waited so long for you. I need—”

“Don’t say it,” she whispered and lowered her head to avoid eye contact. She’d tempted him, let him think if he asked for more, she’d willingly give him whatever he wanted.

Realizing how much she already cared for him, she rebelled against the likelihood of losing her heart to another man. More than once, she’d fallen into the trap of believing a man would love her no matter what.

Every time, she paid with a broken heart. This time, she needed to give him a day or two to come to terms with the true nature of her abilities. Once he saw her in action, he’d change. The desire he felt would wilt until he had no feeling for her at all.

“I’m sorry, but we need to take this slow.” She lowered her hands and pressed them against his chest. “Now, you should tend to your horses.”

Konnor studied her for a long moment before he slowly released his grip. “Make yourself at home. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve finished my nightly chores.”

She nodded, and he turned for the door with a sigh.

The light click of the latch falling into place felt like a shot through her heart. She’d come here determined to do her job and leave. However, Konnor had blindsided her with his charm. She’d broken her new rule of not becoming involved with a client.

Now, she had to figure out a way to keep her heart safe when everything inside her wanted to give in to Konnor’s demands.


Find Anita Philmar at

Website: http://www.anitaphilmar.com/

Blog: http://www.anitaphilmar.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anitaphilmar

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anita-Philmar/e/B002BMBE8C

 

 

Because of Virginia City

Blaire EdensBlaire Edens is another fellow author from the Good, the Bad and the Ghostly.  She lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She grew up on a farm that’s been in her family since 1790. Of Scottish descent, her most famous ancestor, John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Guardian of Scotland, was murdered by Robert the Bruce on the altar of the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries. Continue reading

Native American Slavery

 

headFellow member of Women Writing the West, Alethea Williams is the author of Willow Vale, the story of a Tyrolean immigrant’s journey to America after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. In her second novel, Walls for the Wind, a group of New York City immigrant orphans arrive in Hell on Wheels, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category. Continue reading

NOT Happy Trails

Patti Sherry-Crews

Patti Sherry-Crews

I met Patti Sherry-Crews when we each had a story in the Come Love a Cowboy anthology, and we are continuing to work together on a second anthology for Hallowe’en as well as a third one for Christmas. We’ve bonded over the fact we have both spent time in the U.K.—Patti studied anthropology and archaeology at Grinnell College and the University of North Wales. Continue reading

Does the West Define America?

Frederick Jackson Turner

Frederick Jackson Turner

A few months ago, Amazon came up with one of its ‘suggested reading’ promotions that actually interested me. It was a book, obviously meant for students of history, called ‘Does the Frontier Experience Make America Exceptional?’ What an interesting question, I thought: does it? Continue reading

TWO VIEWS ON THE OREGON TRAIL

When I was in school, Francis Parkman’s The Oregon Trail was on my reading list. At the age of thirteen, the formal writing and the lengthy, detailed descriptions of a time, scenery and people who did not in the least interest me, turned me towards another choice of book. So here I am, some fifty years later, with other interests, more tolerance, and certainly a more receptive mind.

Francis Parkman

Francis Parkman

Francis Parkman was born into an aristocratic Boston family, son of a well-connected and wealthy Unitarian minister. Plagued by illness most of his childhood, he was often sent into the countryside in an attempt to make him more robust. This, combined with his own enjoyment of James Fenimore Cooper’s novels, seems to have had a lasting effect on the young man whose walks in the woods always entailed carrying a rifle, just as his hero, Hawkeye, did. Continue reading