Would You Have What it Took
To be a Woman Homesteader?
Inspiration for the first in The Homesteader series came from a grandmother I never met. Although she died before I was born, I always felt a kinship to her.
Having been a “change of life baby,” born when my parents were much older than when they had my siblings, My father and mother lived the western cowboy way of life. I soon learned about it from tales they related.
Included in this oral history was the fact that my maternal grandmother was widowed. She had three step-children and a passel of her own youngsters to support.
What was she to do when she was left without a husband? She moved the family from Oklahoma to New Mexico where she taught school and claimed a homestead.
Moving to New Mexico is as far as her life goes in the story line. It is only loosely based on Mary (Mollie) Ellen Hall Warren in the fact that she was a woman homesteader. Parts of the novel would probably shock her or, in the least, make her certainly want to correct me.
In The Homesteader, published by Wings Epress, Molly Kling is a woman set on a mission. She will do whatever it takes for her and her three step-children to survive and build a home.
The family lives under their buckboard on the bare property and uses the tailgate as a counter to prepare their meals. Molly dreams of a real kitchen in a real house with a real bed.
When her plans are threatened by a wandering stranger (Trace Westerman), she has no compulsion against shooting the man. She fires close to his leg, to get him away from the rocks she and the children have come to claim for a foundation for their house.
An accident requires the stranger’s help. Molly is forced to allow him to return to the homestead with them.
Wary of the stranger, she questions his sanity when he contributes to their dinner menu. Following is an excerpt when Trace and two of Molly’s stepson’s return after the oldest boy, Andy, has delivered the rattlesnake Trace shot for dinner:
“Having Trace there certainly made life interesting, Molly had to admit to herself as she saw the three of them approaching. She'd had guests bring something to the supper table before, but never a rattlesnake. For certain, he'd have to show her how to cook it. But, she'd be darned if she'd give him the satisfaction of letting him know his contribution disturbed her. She hated snakes. Rattlesnakes were the worst to her. She had almost turned down the land claim when she found they were natural creatures to the area. Only the family’s desperation kept her from moving on. Since then, she had done everything in her power to eradicate or, at least, keep the snakes at bay. She might cook one for Trace but she wasn’t about to eat it.”
The Homesteader’s Legacy, Back to the Homestead and Life on the Homestead follow the first book, The Homesteader. New characters are added as the series continues. Currently I am working on Annabel’s Story as the series becomes The Homesteader Chronicles.
Keeping with the historical theme, Whiskey Creek Press published Blue Coat and Kat’s Cradle. Both are situated in historic western sites.
Author Mary Jean Kelso lives in the true west, Nevada, where cowboys abound and start out as cowboys when they are old enough to ask for a hat. The location has inspired Kelso’s writing for over 50 years. She publishes not only adult and young adult novels but children’s illustrated books as well. Kelso says, “Look for my littlest cowboy, Cowboy James, recently released from Guardian Angel Publishing.”
Kelso’s books are available in print and digital formats at www.Wings-press.com, www.whiskeycreekpress.com, www.guardianangelpublishing.com and www.Amazon.com and other venues.
Mary Jean Kelso
MYSTERY IN VIRGINIA CITY - Great Basin Press
A VIRGINIA CITY MYSTERY - MarKel Press
ABDUCTED! - MarKel Press
SIERRA SUMMER - MarKel Press
GOODBYE, BODIE - MarKel Press
THE HOMESTEADER (May 2005 Best Seller - Wings-Press.com)
THE HOMESTEADER'S LEGACY - (February 2007 - Wings-Press.com)
BACK TO THE HOMESTEAD - (May 2008 - Wings-Press.com)
LIFE ON THE HOMESTEAD - (July 2009 - Wings-Press.com)
GOODBYE IS FOREVER (March 2006 - Wings-Press.com)
BLUE COAT (April 2006 - Whiskeycreekpress.com)
KAT'S CRADLE (October 2007 - Whiskeycreekpress.com)
THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL (August 2007 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND THE ALBINO HORSE (April 2008 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ONE FAMILY'S CHRISTMAS (August 2008 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT GO TO THE FAIR (July 2008 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT IN THE BIG RESCUE (March 2009 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT MEET THE RODEO QUEEN (April 2010 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
THE ADVENTURES OF ANDY AND SPIRIT, BOOK 1 (July 2010 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT IN SEARCH AND RESCUE (Spring 2012 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT GO ON A DAY COUNT (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
ANDY AND SPIRIT RIDE A TRAIN (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
COWBOY JAMES (Aug. 2011 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
THE BOW TIE BUNNY (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
THE CHICK THAT COULDN'T SCRATCH (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
THE RV MOUSE (February 2010 - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
CHRISTOPHER MAKES MAGIC - (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)
BIRDS IN THE FLOWER BASKET - (TBD - GuardianAngelPublishing.com)