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Author Archives: Heather Frey Blanton

I Speak My Mind and, Yes, That Should be Okay

Last week I let loose with some choice thoughts for what was happening in this Brett Kavanaugh fiasco. Talk about a smear train coming through and this man is standing on the tracks. BUT, that is not what I’m writing about here. I’m writing to express my SHOCK at how many people congratulated me on speaking my mind. Even other authors secretly contacted me to high-five me, lamenting that they don’t have the courage to speak up ON THEIR OWN FACEBOOK pages.

rev_girlMan, this isn’t the way it’s supposed to work in America. I mean, we are still the land of the free and home of the brave. We have our First Amendment rights. We speak our minds and that is supposed to be okay. FOR EVERYONE.

So, two things. First,  I don’t feel particularly brave or courageous when I post anti-Lefty things. I have carefully built my tribe on Facebook. If you are my friend, you are either conservative, a follower of Jesus Christ, inordinately polite in conversation, an #NRA member, a fan of #LastManStanding, or possibly all of the above. Therefore, Facebook is my happy place. Last week when I spouted off about the Kavanaugh smear campaign, I unfriended one person and gained EIGHT new friends in one day. (Now, we’ll see what happens here.)

But, second, I am WELL aware there is some risk. I don’t live in La La Land. When I post stuff on Facebook, I figure my biggest threat might be a liberal Facebook employee who decides to monkey with the algorithms and sink the posts. Yes, this could even happen at Amazon. I offend the wrong IT person and my books could fall off the edge of the world never to be seen again.

lms BUT, I also know that my God is still on the throne. If he wants my books to get out in the world, out they will go. Look at the success people like Tim Allen, Tim Tebow, heck, even Trump have had by believing in the values that built this country.

Heather_Blanton-Gun I still believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. I also believe in discussing matters in a polite, friendly way. (Okay, my posts can be a touch sarcastic, but when I’m face-to-face, I’m ALWAYS polite.)

I will continue to speak my mind as A Lady in Defiance of the Left’s tyranny. And, I believe, so will most of you! It’s your right!

Who’s with me?

 

~~~

I’d like to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. I don’t talk politics there (well, not often), but we have fun, I keep you updated on important matters (like this movie option thing that’s happening), give stuff away, and let you know about new releases. I hope you’ll join me here.

 

 

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I Can Change My Mind. I’m a Woman, After All.

If George Lucas can do it…

I just LOVE my novella To Love and to Honor: wounded cavalry soldier Joel Chapman is struggling to find his place in the world of able-bodied men when he meets pregnant and unwed Angela Fairbanks. The daughter of a cold and ruthless cattle baron, she is terrified her father will disown her when he learns of the baby. Joel, touched by Angela’s plight, brashly offers to pose as her husband for one day and then abandon her, thus restoring her honor.

To_Love_to_Honro_mockup But so much can happen in a day…

I had a lot of people ask me about one of the minor characters in the story. An Indian named Henry Long Feather. They wanted more of him.

Well, he did have a backstory, so I’ve decided to write it up and weave it into the story with Joel. In writing jargon, this would be called the B-story.

Henry, a middle-aged man from the Cheyenne tribe, is a realist when it comes to thinking Indians and Whites can live together in peace. To wit, they can’t. Whites are the conquerors and his people are disappearing under the plague of settlers. A white missionary woman, however, might be able to change his thinking.

I’ve always felt this book needed more story, but because of a deadline, I simply didn’t have time to write it. Then I thought, well, heck, if George Lucas can go in and monkey around with Star Wars, why can’t I add some meat to a story, too?

Now, if by chance you’ve bought To Love and to Honor and don’t want to pay to get the extended version, fear not. When I release this update, I’ll make it FREE for a few days so you can meet Henry Long Feather and the white missionary Laurie Wilcox without spending a dime.

And, say, if you’d like to be kept up-to-date on my projects, get free, exclusive excerpts, win stuff, and be included in some fascinating conversations, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Till next time,

Happy trails and God bless ya!

Pineapple Wednesday–Things Hidden in My Stories!

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It’s Pineapple Wednesday! I hide pineapples in my stories (most authors label these Easter eggs–me calling it a pineapple is a hat tip to the TV show #Psych). So here’s one for y’all from A LADY IN DEFIANCE: Heather_Blanton_Lady_Defiance

He sighed like a man accepting his fate. Defiance had to be tamed. If he wanted the railroad to come in, he was going to have to get on with it. He heard the front doors squeak and looked up. His office afforded a view of the entire length of the bar and he straightened attentively as a pretty little blonde entered and removed her bonnet. Hands clenched tensely at her waist, her eyes were glued to the nude painting over the bar.

 The pineapple: In the movie The Harvey Girls, there is a nude statue at the base of the stairs people keep throwing clothes over. My painting is a hat tip to that prop.

If you read something in one of my stories and you’re curious as to whether it might be a pineapple, shoot me an email and I’ll answer you! heatherblanton@ladiesindefiance.com!

Oh, and you might consider grabbing a copy of A Lady in Defiance if you’ve never read it.

 

the lost chapters cover By the way, WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE EBOOK? Please sign up for my newsletter so you can stay informed of all the new releases, what’s happening with the Defiance movie (yes, I have a movie producer!) and all the other fun things we cover. Would love to have you join us! And you’ll get a free copy of A Lady in Defiance–the Lost Chapters!

Sneak Peek from Daughter of Defiance!

Daughter of Defiance ~ Exclusive for my blog!

Release date: September 11, 2018

FB DOD meme Mr. GW Moore was what Victoria would have called a pistol. Here in his elegantly appointed drawing room, the man sat ramrod straight—impressive posture for an eighty-year-old man—and ran a gnarled hand through his shock of silver hair. His bright green eyes betrayed a sharp mind—even if he couldn’t see past his nose. His bushy, silver mustache wiggled as she and Eleanor sat down on the settee opposite him.

“Eleanor, is your daughter as pretty as she smells?”

Victoria had known a lot of men in her life and was wise to their wiles. This old goat only sought to charm them, not express a lecherous heart. Before her mother could answer, Victoria tossed her braid over her shoulder and leaned forward. “If you can’t see me, it doesn’t matter, but we’ll go with prettier.” The little surviving ember of humor surprised her.

The old gentleman chuckled and ruffled his black string tie. “You’ve brought me a firecracker, Eleanor. Can I keep up?”

“I’m honestly not sure, GW.” Eleanor winked at her daughter. “It should be fun watching you try.”

For the first time in months, Victoria thought about smiling. In the end, she didn’t. “How many hours will you be needing me, Mr.—”

“GW. Call me GW. Everybody does.”

“All right.”

“And I reckon as many hours as you can stand me. I’m not ready to retire from the newspaper or running this ranch. I’ve got everything from editorials to write, to ledgers to read, to horseflesh and cattle to assay.”

“I don’t know anything about judging horses or cattle.”

The old man grinned. She only knew because his mustache seemed to spread a little. “You will.” He reached down beside his chair and produced a cane. “Let’s take a walk.”

Not shy about his intended use for Victoria, he clutched her arm and verbally directed her around his home—a comfortable, adobe-style house done up in velvet furniture, Indian blankets on the walls, Spanish tile on the floor. The three of them exited out the patio at the rear of the house.

“Now, I’ll show you one of my new projects.”

The three of them ambled out toward the corral. Ranch hands scurried around the place like ants, leading horses, driving wagons loaded with everything from fence materials to hay, and trotting off into the prairie after scattered herds. The gentle hills around GW’s ranch were peppered with moving dark patches of milling cattle and cowboys whistling and swinging ropes to drive them. Off toward the west, closer in than the cattle, a herd of horses, at least a couple hundred head, grazed lazily in the waist-high grass.

A screaming, ornery horse’s neigh snatched her attention back to the corral as they approached.

“Oh, I wish I could see her well, Victoria. I hear she’s something.” Sadness and awe warred in GW’s voice as he leaned on the top rail.

A glistening, muscular bay mare with four white socks stood quivering on the far side of the corral. Sleek and sassy, she whipped her head about nervously and pawed the ground. A cowboy, blond hair flowing from beneath his sweat-stained hat, hands hanging at his sides, slowly approached the animal. Victoria caught the hint of a hitch in his step and wondered if the horse had caused it.

Suddenly, the horse seemed to decide Toby was too close. She neighed angrily again, pinned her ears and bolted to a new spot, positioning herself against the fence, but between the man and the newly-arrived spectators.

Victoria wondered who this extremely patient cowboy was. Tall, heavy with muscle, he moved more like a panther than a man as he pivoted calmly toward the animal. He was, she guessed, a few years younger than she, somewhere in his late twenties. Blond, in need of a shave, but easy to look at with his high cheekbones and dimpled chin, Victoria figured he must have a long trail of broken hearts behind him.

The cowboy paused, seemed to reconsider his interaction with the horse, and suddenly turned away from her. His stride heavier, more determined, but betraying a slight limp, he marched over to his audience. “I need to give her a minute.”

“Toby, you know Eleanor,” GW said, motioning to the ladies. “This is her daughter Victoria.”

Sapphire eyes warm with cheer, he raised and dropped his stained white hat in greeting to the ladies. “Miss Eleanor, I’m looking forward to our next meal with you. Miss Victoria…” His gaze lingered. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Is that horse as pretty as Toby says?” the old man asked the ladies.

Victoria thought of her previous answer to the similar question about her. “Prettier.”

GW frowned at her, bushy eyebrows colliding. “That your answer for everything?”

“No, just when it’s the truth. But what about her feet?”

“Oh, pshaw,” he waved in annoyance. “You don’t believe that old wives’ tale?”

“Four white socks, keep him not a day—” Victoria wagged a finger.

“Three white socks,” Eleanor chimed in, leaning on the fence, “send him far away. Two white socks, give him to a friend.”

“One white sock,” Toby finished, grinning, “keep him to his end.”

“And I suppose none of you walk under a ladder either.” GW jammed his cane through the fence toward the animal. “Her feet are fine. I hear she’s really something to see.”

“She is stunning, GW,” Victoria said, done teasing. “Simply stunning.”

“Maybe I’ll take one more run at making friends with her,” Toby said, pushing off the fence. Calmly, he strode to the center of the corral. Yes, Victoria caught the hitch in his step this second time.

The horse was a beauty, but Victoria would have to be the blind one here to miss the mean streak in her. Ears pinned impossibly flat, the mare lowered her head, and spun her backside around to Toby, positioning for a kick.

Just aching to make his limp more pronounced, aren’t you, girl?

“Why isn’t she broke?” Victoria asked GW, curious why a four- or five-year-old horse hadn’t been under saddle yet.

“Ah,” he pointed a finger to heaven. “Therein lies the project part I mentioned. Toby there isn’t trying to break her, he’s trying to heal her.”

“Heal her?” Victoria quickly looked the animal over. She didn’t see any obvious wounds. “What happened to her?”

“She’s been abused,” the old man said quietly. “Folks too heavy on the crop. Finally wound up with a farmer over in Lawrence. He flat-out beat her trying to break her. All he did, though, was make her mean.”

“Mean?”

GW cut his eyes at Victoria. “You a parrot?”

She nearly smiled again.

“She killed the farmer,” Toby answered without raising his voice. “Stomped him into a bloody puddle of sausage.” His right hand drifted to his thigh as if it pained him. “To top it off, she’s treacherous. She’ll let you get close to her then all of a sudden she explodes like a cannonball and tries to run you down.”

Raging against the world, huh, girl? Victoria couldn’t deny a certain sympathy for the animal. “She doesn’t sound mean. She sounds like she’s not going to take it anymore.”

GW seemed to think about that for a minute. “Reckon that’s one way to look at it.”

Worry lines dragged Eleanor’s face down as she watched the horse prance and snort. “Horses like that are dangerous. She’s liable to kill somebody else. Like Toby there.”

“Aw, he’s pretty fast, in spite of his bad leg.” The old man shrugged. “I don’t know, I can’t convince myself she’s a lost cause. Toby there is the best horse wrangler I’ve ever had. He doesn’t think she’s a lost cause, either. She just needs to know…”

“She can trust you?” Victoria offered.

“No, it’s more than that.” Toby walked away from the horse and joined the group at the fence. “A horse that damaged. It’s hard to explain. I’ll bring her around, though.”

~~~

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Daughter of Defiance, I hope you’ll get your copy here! For the next few days, it’s ON SALE! Happy Fall, y’all, and thanks for reading!

the lost chapters cover WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE EBOOK? Please sign up for my newsletter so you can stay informed of all the new releases, what’s happening with the Defiance movie (yes, I have a movie producer!) and all the other fun things we cover. Would love to have you join us! And you’ll get a free copy of A Lady in Defiance–the Lost Chapters!

Deadwood — Day 3

Day 3 Friday

I got up early yet again (still on EST) and took a morning hike back up to Mt. Moriah. I went no further than the gift shop. I didn’t sneak past the gate which would have been ridiculously easy. Not because I’m a saint, either. I mean, really, for a $2 admission fee would it have been a big deal to walk among the headstones? I would have covered the donation later.

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Quiet road, nice view, gorgeous sky.

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The roads in Deadwood can be VERY steep. These boys won’t be stranded! #GodBlessRednecks

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The reason the cemetery is famous.

No, on the way up, I saw two deer or playing.  Then at the gate, I realized how quiet the place was, how isolated. I was alone. No one knew where I was. Hmmm. Yeah, seemed the better part of valor to retreat. A mountain lion could drag me off and no one would ever find my body.

I shared my thoughts with the hotel clerk who had given me shorter directions to the cemetery. She gasped and said, “Yeah, I forgot to mention those.”

She forgot to mention the possibility of a mountain lion attacking me.

At least she gave me coffee. I will forgive her oversight.

Later in the day a bunch of us authors and our cadre climbed aboard some tour buses and totally did the tourist thing. We stopped outside Mt. Rushmore for a quick pic, then headed off to Big Thunder gold mine. It was damp and dark. Outside my sister Dawn and I panned for gold. The weather was perfect. I loved it and I even found a few flakes.

Next stop:  the majestic Crazy Horse monument. I bought a dreamcatcher necklace there from a handsome Sioux whose mother made them for the museum. Dawn and I got so hung up shopping and looking at stuff in the museum, the bus nearly left without us! No kidding. Some of the other authors were upset with us. I am truly sorry.

For the last stop, we went to Prairie Berry Winery. They specialize in some oddly flavored wines. Nothing there pulled my trigger. Rutabaga wine or some such. Ick. A very nice winery, though. You should stop by.

Along the way, we made some friends and walked to dinner with them at some place I forget the name of. It was rustic in a roadhouse sort of way. We had a ball with our new friends Kari Trumbo, Mary Ann, Diane and her daughter Kim.

After dinner, Dawn and I turned in. Yeah, real party animals.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made? You Have No Idea…

It has been accepted since the experiments of Wilder Penfield back in the fifties, that hidden away in each of us is a permanent record of our past.

33809753_10156588897855362_3017506033460314112_n If you could live an ancestor’s memory, what would you experience? Could you mistake the recollection for reincarnation? Could you lose yourself in the memories…

Travel back in time, as it were?

And keep reading for a sneak peek!

My newest release, For the Love of Liberty, is a flight of fancy—a story in which time and space, spirit and soul all mingle together. This tale is inspired by my fascination with something called Genetic Memory. Several years ago I read an article about a newspaper reporter who was obsessed with all things Italian—food,  fashion, art, architecture. Not so odd, except no one in her family was Italian. Determined to find the root of this odd preoccupation, she did a little research and discovered she did, indeed, have Italian ancestors.

There’s more. Emory University did a study in which mice were trained to avoid a certain smell—cherry blossom. Sure enough, the offspring avoided the smell as well, without training.

clock Yes, aversions and feelings are a far cry from experiencing an actual memory, but the secrets DNA might hold certainly are intriguing. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I think DNA studies have only begun to scratch the surface of what humans share. This might even be the explanation for what some call “reincarnation.” Which I don’t believe in.

So, what if we mix genetic memory theories with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Barriers between dimensions collapse and the Space-Time Continuum sprouts branches—thousands, maybe millions of branches. Anyone who knows God in a real, personal way accepts that He is the ultimate power in the universe. And with him, all things are possible.

I hope you’ll check out my new release, For the Love of Liberty. Star-crossed lovers hundreds of years apart–or are they? Book 4 in the (stand-alone) Timeless Love series!

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 

– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Now for a little sneak peek:

Liberty opened her eyes. One moment she was in Talbot’s chair, and the next she was standing on a dirt road. No. She looked to her left. This was a back street. She could see the rear of houses and businesses. Some brick and some clapboard buildings, Georgian style, a few with white picket fences enclosing small yards. To her right, fields of dry corn stalks and tobacco stubs shuddered with the cool, dry breeze. Beyond them, smoke drifted from half a dozen distant farmhouse chimneys. Above, a brilliant, cloudless sapphire sky stretched from horizon to horizon.

I’m back.

Elated over being here again, and getting dizzy with the emotion, she forced her breathing to slow. But the question struck her, back where? The slow, heavy gong of a cowbell was swallowed by the rumble of wagon wheels on a cobblestone street not far away. A hundred feet up, a man emerged from a barn-like structure, rolling a mammoth barrel into the light. He parked it, disappeared, emerged a moment later, manhandling another.

Approaching slowly, Liberty noted with appreciation the muscles rippling beneath the man’s muslin shirt as he wrestled the barrel along, beige breeches pulling taught over his thighs with the effort. Thick, defined calves strained against his stockings. She had to admit he filled out the Colonial clothing quite nicely. And while she’d never cared for a ponytail on a man, his raven-black hair looked natural pulled back with a leather tie.

She blinked, surprised at herself and regained her focus. How could she ask him where she was without sounding like a village idiot? As if suddenly sensing her presence, the man straightened, turned, and their eyes met. She would have sworn electricity arced between them and she gasped. Then she recognized the face.

Martin Hemsworth.

 

 

How does a man, missing a limb, feel whole again?

Welcome to a sneak-peek of my newest release,

To Love and to Honor— Enjoy!

Logo_Brides_Of_Evergreen_Book5From Chapter 5:

A day later, Joel was strong enough to travel.

And to send word to Ruth of his whereabouts.

He tapped the pencil on the Western Union form, trying to determine how much to write. He believed it a safe assumption his wife did not care where he was so long as he was not in her presence.

His time away with the cavalry had changed Ruth. Her letters had grown colder, her thoughts more succinct. Coming home minus a limb had only served to deepen the divide between them.

What exactly was the state of their relationship now? Dead? Dying? How did one resuscitate a marriage in this condition? Prayer. Ask God for a miracle to revive their love?

He had prayed for revival, but without any passion behind the request. He knew he should care, be desperate to save their marriage. Yet, desperation had died with every brief, emotionless letter from her, every repulsed look she had revealed, and every touch from which she had recoiled. The guilt of his growing apathy weighed on him. He suspected Ruth had reasons for some guilt as well, but Joel had no proof. Without proof, suspicions were merely that—suspicions.

Finally, tired of debating, he wrote, Delayed in Evergreen, Wy. Will notify you when I proceed to South Dak. He pondered adding love, Joel. In the end, he didn’t and slid the paper over to the clerk.

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The Bar FB sat in a long, flat valley, ringed with hills that alternated between open pastures thigh-high with brittle, fall grass, and deep, dark-green forests of Scotch and Blue spruces. White-faced Hereford cattle milled about everywhere.

Various log buildings such as the barn and bunkhouse surrounded the imposing main house at strategic distances. Surprising Joel, the home was a white-washed antebellum structure with a cupola on the top. From it, he imagined a man could sit up there and see the whole valley in any direction.

King of all he surveys, eh?

“You could still back out,” Angela said from beside him, hunching her shoulders and rubbing her arms. Joel assumed she was cold, but the action could have also just as easily expressed her fears at this homecoming.

He tapped the reins across the horses’ rear ends to maintain their speed. “Not much of an option right now.”

“You could drop me off and keep riding.”

A cowardly act he couldn’t fathom. He was here now and he was committed to the cause.

“You’re an honorable man, aren’t you, Captain Chapman?”

“I used to think so.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t like lying. Normally I wouldn’t have fallen into something like this. I believe almost any man can be reasoned with.” He cut his eyes at her. “You’ve made me believe your father may be the exception and this subterfuge is necessary. I hope I have not misjudged.”

She heaved a great sigh. “I understand your concern. Two seconds with my father, though, and you’ll understand mine.”

They rolled beneath the gate that proudly displayed the Bar FB encircled in barbed wire, and then into the main yard. A few ranch hands nodded and tipped their hats. One, a large fellow with a silvery-yellow beard, paused, allowed his smile to widen, and approached the buggy. Joel pulled it to a stop.

“Miss Angela.” The cowboy swiped his hat off. “What a surprise. Your father said you was back East in school. He didn’t say anything about you coming for a visit.”

“Howdy, Glenn, it’s nice to see you. I’ve missed your saucy jokes.”

The man blushed from his neck up, the color disappearing into his beard, then stole a quick glance at Joel. A glint of disapproval flashed across Glenn’s face but disappeared quickly.

“Oh.” Angela squared her shoulders. “Glenn, this is my husband, Joel Chapman. Joel, my father’s foreman, Glenn Leary.”

Joel reached across Angela and the two shook hands. Glenn was clearly shocked by the news, judging from his slack jaw. “Husband, huh? Yeah, your father didn’t mention that either.”

“I imagine there’s a lot he hasn’t mentioned about me since I left.”

The man pursed his lips as if acknowledging a secret. “Yeah, he hasn’t said too much since you’ve been gone.” He replaced the Stetson. “And he has been in one continual sour mood. Now that you’re back, maybe he’ll quit yellin’ so much.”

“Maybe.” She didn’t sound like she believed it. “We’ll see you soon.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Angela touched Joel’s arm and he drove the rig up to the front of the house. “Well, here goes nothing.” Her voice wiggled and Joel wished he could give her a reassuring hug.

In lieu of that, he said, “I’ve faced a hundred screaming Indians, dodged a hailstorm of fiery arrows, and a blizzard of bullets. I’m not afraid of your father.” He smiled, hoping he had reassured her some.

Instead, her smile was pitying. “That doesn’t mean he can’t hurt you.”

<<><><><><>>

Please pick up your copy TODAY of To Love and to Honor!

Exploring Deadwood–Day 2

Day 2 Thursday

Deadwood at 6 in the morning. As quiet as the name would suggest. I walked around the main street and got some great shots.

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Deadwood at Sunrise.

It seemed the wild-and-wooly past was a little closer without the tourists and cars drowning it out. I gazed up at buildings that pioneers had looked at. I couldn’t help but wonder at the people who risked so much to build this little town.

We stayed in the Bullock Hotel and the little restaurant is just as historic as the rest of the building. Tin tiles in the ceiling. A huge fireplace in the room. A little saloon-style bar behind which the chef whipped up some simple but yummy breakfast items—and the biggest cinnamon roll I’ve ever seen in my life!

I realized that morning that I had no way to get photos from the memory stick in my camera to my Mac so after breakfast, Dawn and I drove over to Spearfish. A pretty big town—it has a Walmart! The drive over was gorgeous. 2018-06-07 00.36.30 The Black Hills of SD really are truly haunting, even a little mystical. While there, we had lunch at a lovely little coffee shop/café that seemed to serve a lot of college students. Turns out, Black Hills State is located there. I want to remember the veranda we sat on, the warm, dry air, the stunning blue sky and mountains in the distance. On the way into Spearfish, we saw a homeless guy sitting at an intersection. On the way out of town, we took him a sandwich and gave him a little money. Yeah, he might drink up the cash, but we gave to be a blessing and show Jesus. No judging.

Now, one of the interesting things about Deadwood is how it’s situated between two steep, mountain walls. And I do mean steep.

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The view from one of those pretty little Victorian homes. In the distance is our hotel, the Deadwood Mountain Grand.

There are several old, Victorian homes up there. We were so curious to see them up close so Dawn and I ventured up there—I felt like I was back home in Western North Carolina! I mean we are talking narrow, twisty little roads. I don’t know how these people get around in the winter! But what a view!

We still had some time before check-in, so we made the trek to the cemetery. The day was warm, even by my Southern standards, and we took the stairs from the street which cuts the walk in half but doubles the difficulty. I thought my sister—who has asthma—was going to kill me. Mt. Moriah Cemetery is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and historic graveyards I’ve ever visited. I mean, you don’t get to see “Killed by Indians” on too many tombstones. For a Western writer, that’s kind of a thrill. Killed_by_Indians

 

The first event of the Wild Deadwoods Read program was a meet-and-greet. While I am not a huge social butterfly, I was pretty much ready to leave after we collected our lanyards and swag bag. But we did meet up with authors Kari Trumbo and Danica Favorite, two of my fellow authors from the Brides of Blessings series. IMG_0668 Starting to run out of gas, Dawn and I split for dinner in the hotel and brought Kari with us. She’s really sweet and a great writer. You should check out her work!

And with that, we called it a night. In Deadwood. Love it!

Shameless Tourist Escapism in the Guise of Research–Deadwood Day 1

Recently, I attended Wild Deadwood Reads, an author/reader expo of sorts in Deadwood, South Dakota. In all my travels out West, I’ve never been to this area. Wow, I thought, what a great opportunity. I’ll invite my sister to come along. We’ll meet some people, make new friends, see a part of the country I haven’t before. I can tell you, we had a spectacular time. I haven’t been on a plane in 20 years b/c I don’t like to fly. I had a small window of time here, though, so I bit the bullet. It was well worth the effort.

Day 1

Thanks to terrorists, 2:30 comes early, but like a good citizen, I was at the airport TWO HOURS before my flight. By 4:20 I was through security and wondering about coffee. Not to mention, Why was I here so early again?

The plane left on time: 6:18. Yea. Unfortunately, we hit thunderstorms coming into St. Paul. Boo. I do not care to repeat that.

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Could have kissed the ground after that ride!

I made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare, but my sister Dawn was late. Like a movie, she came running down the concourse, red-faced, panting, on the verge of an asthma attack, catching the flight in the nick of time.

But bless her heart, she distracted me from the flight in a little tiny plain (tiny, by my standards) by showing me a catalog of gorgeous Western home decor.

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Plane #2: Me on the left, my big sister Dawn on the right.

Once we were on the ground and had our rental car, we headed for the metropolis of Rapid City. It was not what we expected. There weren’t many cowboys. Instead, we found a college town with what looked like a lot of metrosexuals and too-cool-for-school young hipsters. This is South Dakota? I thought, thus far disappointed.

We hit Walmart for a few things. Of course, who doesn’t need to swing into Walmart on every vacation? Oh, but then we went to Boot Barn! We don’t have one of these around me. I was in love. Western-style fashions everywhere! I bought a cute, red dress with a ragged hem and a beautiful leather belt with a turquoise and silver buckle. NOW we were ready to head up into the Black Hills.

No, wait, one last stop at Target for some water and off we went to Deadwood.

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See the door on the 2nd floor? That was my room.

We stayed at the historic Bullock Hotel. It’s old and doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the hotel is gorgeous on the inside. It was built in 1896 by Seth Bullock, one of the first sheriffs in Deadwood. He came to be best friends with Teddy Roosevelt, too. Seth spared few expenses on his hotel. An ornate wooden staircase takes you from floor to floor. Lovely carpets greet your eye. A casino in the bottom has a few quaint museum pieces, and the restaurant with its huge fireplace and tin ceiling really brings home the atmosphere.

Dawn stayed in the Roosevelt suite which opened up to my room. We had our privacy but could talk back-and-forth if we wanted to. We had a great view of the historic main street and the haunted hotel across the way. The Bullock is supposed to be haunted, too, and I did half-wake during the night because I thought Dawn was using my bathroom. But she didn’t. Hmmmm.

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The woodwork in the hotel was impressive.

Anyway, like giddy teenage girls at the mall, we shopped that night, from one end of town to the other. I bought a silver bracelet, a ring, and earrings. Dawn bought a beautiful leather purse and bracelet at Miss Kitty’s Mercantile. I love the name. And we picked up a few little things for the unfortunates back home.

We closed out the evening with dinner at the Deadwood Social Club, an atmospheric restaurant upstairs from the No. 10 Saloon–not THE No. 10 where HIckock was shot–that one burned. The new one sits on the foundation of the original, though.

So, there we were, over 900 miles from home and just tickled to death to be in Deadwood. No laundry. No kids. No fussy husbands. Happy as larks, we went back to our rooms and slept like babies. Well, except for that fuzzy moment when I seem to recall a visitor in my bathroom. Must have not bothered me too much. 2018-06-06 20.15.50

 

 

American Girls Have Always had a Rep

“We may destroy all the men in America, and we shall still have all we can do to defeat the women.”

Lord Cornwallis, British general, and Washington’s nemesis.

In the fall of 1878, Deborah Samson, at the fiery age of 18, enlisted in the Continental Army…as a man. Spending the next three years as Robert Shirtliffe, Deborah did her part to secure liberty and freedom for America. She served in various capacities under Capt. Nathan Thayer and proved herself a capable, willing, and courageous Massachusetts soldier.

Talk about fight like a girl…

Never one to run from a battle, Deborah dove right in with the best and the bravest. She was shot once in the leg, nicked in the head by a British sword, then shot again in the other leg. All three times she refused medical attention so as not to have her ruse discovered. Unfortunately, she came down with a “brain fever” in 1781 and was treated by a Dr. Binney of Philadelphia. Imagine his surprise!

He forthwith moved Deborah to his own home for recovery and sent a note to Capt. Thayer. Upon her recovery, Deborah was called to General Washington’s office. The legends differ here on what exactly happened next. Some say she was asked to deliver papers to the General, at which point he gave her the papers of discharge. Other stories say she delivered the papers, was called back to pick up new dispatches, and then Gen. Washington handed her the discharge papers. What all the stories agree on is that Washington chose not to publicly reprimand or embarrass Deborah. He handed her the discharge papers, without comment, and also handed her the soldier’s pay due her, and a note of advice.

The note was lost to history, but knowing General Washington’s respect for women and his wry sense of humor, it probably said something to the effect of, “Now that you’ve shown my men how to fight, I think it is time you return to the duties of your fair sex. Thank you for your service to your country.”

Eventually, Deborah married a farmer named Gannet and had (naturally) three daughters. Ironically, she named the youngest one Patience.

Oh, yes, indeed, a true Lady in Defiance.

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