Monday, January 22, 2018

Who the Heck is Juliette Douglas?

Who the Heck is Juliette Douglas?

Mornin’ folks!

Well...I’m sitting here snowed in until probably Thursday when the temperatures warm up enough to melt the 8 to 12 inches of snow and ice that Western Kentucky has received since the 12th of January. We don’t see an event like this very often here so it paralyzes us for the duration. The only things on the roads are 4-wheelers. Even the plow trucks are having trouble clearing the roads. So, it’s a BIG event for us country folks in small town rural America.

So...guess I’d better fill ya’ll in on me! First, I would like to thank Julie Lence for inviting me to participate in Cowboy Kisses. I am honored.

When I’m not playing author Juliette Douglas, I wash, wax, and detail boats for a living. Yeah, I know, but when you live right next to two big lakes it’s kind of a handy job to have and a lot of people will hire someone to clean their boats. I have cleaned boats as long as 100 feet and 3 stories high. Floating hotels, if you wish. I have also worked for one of the big marinas on the lake cleaning the inside of their rental houseboats; hard work but good money. Now that I’m older and it’s become too much for me, I only do pontoons and runabouts that are brought into a small marine repair shop a few miles from my house that customers want cleaned while they are there. we go!

Why do I have a pen name? I used to have a Scottish terrier named Juliette; she was a rescue and I was her 3rd owner in her short life of 8 months. We clicked and we had many long, wonderful years together. I had to send her across the rainbow bridge during the writing of my first book Freckled Venom Copperhead, and to this day I still miss her terribly. Even though I have other rescues now, she remains deeply embedded in my heart. My maiden name is Douglas and I always called her Juliette Douglas. It is in honor of her that I chose that pen name.

Why do I write? Who knows? Several years ago, I woke up with stories in my head and couldn’t get rid of them until I wrote them down. Back then I didn’t have a computer, internet or nuttin’. All I had was my coffee pot, microwave and TV. My step-mom gave me an old 1995 computer that used floppys. (Since then I’ve killed 4 computers…sigh) I pounded away on three stories; the first one stunk so bad I deleted it. I have rewritten it now to eventually become Pocketful of Stars. The second one stunk, too, but I have also rewritten it to become Bed of Conspiracy, eventually. Now you have to understand I have never written a thing in my life except college papers; I guess this is/was a mid-life crisis? Anyhoo, I feel God showed me a talent I never knew I had and I thank Him everyday.

I wrote my first untitled book and wanted an opinion from someone who knew the business to tell me if I had something here or should I hang it up. Through a very dear friend, I met his cousin who was a tough retired publisher and lo and behold, he actually like my first rough raw draft. He gave me pointers on how to formulate a manuscript and all the other good stuff green authors need to know, but don’t. He even suggested the title Freckled Venom. Now I have a series under that name with many more to come. Whenever I return to White River and these characters, I feel as if I had come home again.

And I guess you can say ‘The rest is history!’

I recently saw him at his cousin’s and my dear friend’s funeral and he told me, “I honestly never thought you would make it. It’s a really tough business.” High praise indeed! Needless to say, he receives a copy of all my books and he just beams with delight when he receives a new story.

Since being published in 2014, I now have seven novels out and hopefully more to come. My goal for this year 2018 is that I hope to have four new ones published including We Are Awesome Possums, a children’s book about my experience raising eight abandoned baby possums. One possum who I still have is un-releasable due to physical problems. Jake will be two in February.

I do a lot of events where I am a vendor selling my books, it's been a lot of fun and has also helped to spread the word on my Western Collection.

The most fun I have ever had was to travel 2200 miles round trip to Hico, Texas for The Billy the Kid Film Festival in 2015. My mentor and fellow western author Jared McVay brought my 1st place Laramie Award for best debut western novel and presented it to me at the film awards banquet.

Thank you all for reading my backstory, and until we meet again…
Happy Trails!! 

One tall, handsome Marshal is determined to get to the bottom of why this mysterious bounty hunter is so skittish...
COPPERHEAD (Book 1) 99 cents

"It's not your typical mail order bride story nor the typical historical romance, but I think that's why I found it entertaining. Well worth the 99 cent price tag."
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If you had one wish...
99 copper pennies!!
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Finally out of prison, she wanted far away from everyone...til a blizzard stranded her in a stable...
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A Wild Card of a Western!!
They were by no means perfect...They knew how to use a gun. Two were rough around the edges...they all had a shameful past...they just wanted a new life.
Also available here:...

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ghost Towns and Boom Towns of the American West

Risk and reward, boom or bust: essential to our concept of the Western frontier. The possibilities were endless, but the risks were great and the rewards never guaranteed. For families like the MacLarens (from my newest series MacLarens of Boundary Mountain), settling in a boomtown like Conviction was the ultimate payoff for an arduous, risky journey. Of course, our hero Colin MacLaren wants more out of life than to live in a nice, stable, thriving town, but more on him later…

Frontier Ghost Town

Boomtowns sprung up across the United States during the rapid growth of the 19th century. Adventurous travelers and those seeking a better life were drawn to a burgeoning town for opportunity. Their presence helped the economy grow, more people were drawn to the town, and the growth cycle continued.

Gold rush fever was responsible for many 19th century boomtowns, some of which remain stable economies to this day. Even Denver, Colorado and San Francisco were once new, exciting western boomtowns. Conviction, the setting for the McLarens of Boundary Mountain series, was inspired by two real towns first settled in the 1850s. Together they formed a bustling metropolis with a strong economy.

Historic Downtown Marysville

Marysville and neighboring Yuba City, both in northern California on the Feather River, owe their early development to the promise of gold. Marysville became one of the largest cities in California within a decade of being incorporated in 1851. Its location was prime for a commercial center to serve thousands of gold miners. By 1857 it had a population nearly ten thousand strong, and a full, diverse economy of different industries and a rich community of people. Across the river, Yuba City benefited from the same travel routes and quietly thrived on a smaller scale, eventually becoming the county seat of Sutter County, California.

Marysville’s growth came to an essentially permanent halt when Feather River became impassable by riverboats. However, they never met the dreaded fate of so many other western boomtowns. They never went “bust.”

Boomtowns are defined as much by their growing pains and potential for failure as they are by initial growth and success. Because these towns grew so rapidly, growth was often unsustainable. Many towns never caught up to their long-term needs and went “bust” after a period of tenuous prosperity. This was an all-too-common tale that has resulted in the American West being dotted with abandoned “ghost towns.”

Bodie Historic Park

Bodie, California is an eerily well-preserved ghost town in northern California. It enjoyed its clandestine boom in the 1870s and 1880s thanks to the discovery of gold. At its peak, Bodie boasted 65 saloons along its main street, a population of around 7,000 people, newspapers that published several times a week, a red light district, volunteer firefighters, and even a local brass band.

Bodie’s sudden decline occurred when more promising mining towns like Butte, Montana, and Tombstone, Arizona lured off most of the miners. The people who remained in Bodie were families. The town’s economy and population never recovered. By 1920, scarcely over one hundred people called Bodie home. In 1942, the last gold mine closed. In1961, the town was designated a National Historic Landmark and has been maintained as such ever since, in a state of “arrested decay.”


These narratives were essential to the tone of life in the American West. Towns boomed and busted. Families settled and created stable lives, all the while aware the economy could turn with little notice. It took special people with an adventurous nature and never quit attitude to take the extreme changes in the western frontier.
If you were in a position to change your life, uproot your family for a dream, would you do it? Would you believe in your heart, as the MacLarens did, that there was more to life and greater opportunity hundreds or thousands of miles away? If so, what would you give up to secure it?

Heather’s Choice, book five, MacLarens of Boundary Mountain historical western romance, is located on the Feather River, near the original town of Marysville, California. 

For An Undying Love…

When Colin MacLaren headed west on a wagon train, he hoped to find adventure and perhaps a little danger in untamed California. He never expected to meet the girl he would love forever. He also never expected her to be the daughter of his family’s age-old enemy, but Sarah was a MacGregor and the anger he anticipated soon became a reality. Her father would not be swayed, vehemently refusing to allow marriage to a MacLaren.

Time Has No Effect…

Forced apart for five years, Sarah never forgot Colin—nor did she give up on his promise to come for her. Carrying the brooch he gave her as proof of their secret betrothal, she scans the trail from California, waiting for Colin to claim her. Unfortunately, her father has other plans.

And Enemies Hold No Power.

Nothing can stop Colin from locating Sarah. Not outlaws, runaways, or miles of difficult trails. However, reuniting is only the beginning. Together they must find the courage to fight the men who would keep them apart—and conquer the challenge of uniting two independent hearts.



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lacrosse to Bear

It certainly is peculiar that Lacrosse, invented by Native Americans, is one of the three winter sports at British girls’ schools. My daughter, brought up in the UK, hated it; never very athletic—she has many other talents—she went out into freezing cold with her cleats and her Lacrosse stick, and was rarely chosen for a team. I have no idea how lacrosse reached inclusion in the girls school syllabus, but I suppose after five hundred years it had got around.
Coctaw Ball Player by George Catlin

Lacrosse was part of the native culture as a sacred contest. To the French Canadian trappers who mixed with the Iroquois, apparent inventors of the game, the lacrosse stick looked like a bishops’ crozier-la crosse. The game eventually became a way of preparing young warriors for battle, and subsequently a way of deciding inter-tribal conflicts. The netted sticks were about three feet long and the balls were stuffed deer hide.  Believe it or not, hundreds could be playing at once and the goals could be miles apart—a sort of hockey-style free-for-all. Although the Iroquois were originally from upstate NY and Ontario, some did eventually relocate in the early 1800s to Indian Territory/Oklahoma, and to Kansas.
The Iroquois Nationals, the native lacrosse team, are still going strong, and back in 2010 they were headed to the UK to compete. In May, 2010, I was also headed to the UK: I wanted to see my friends; whether or not they wanted to see me was another matter.  Maybe all those tears shed at my departure were tears of joy; I have no idea. But I had another reason for this return.  Unless I go back into the UK every two years, I lose my right to residency or, as the Immigration officials put it, “leave to enter and remain in the United Kingdom.” So there I was in the queue for Immigration, two passports at the ready: one passport was my current one, the other--outdated--had the magic stamp in it which gives me the “right to abode.” I approached the officer when I was called, and explained that I wished to maintain my rights and have the usual stamp of ‘right to abode.’  He looked over the two passports and said, “But Madam, you’re only here for fourteen days. And even if you want that stamp, you were last in the UK in September ’08 so you have gone past the two years.”  
     There was a moment’s silence while I stood staring at him trying to figure out which one of us had Alzheimer’s.  Since there is no song for the months the way there is for the alphabet, to help you get those months in order, I had to spend a bit of time figuring this one out. However, years of experience told me that May came before September so in the end I gently but firmly pointed out to him that I still had more than three months to go. He gave me the stamp.
Ball Players by George Catlin

The lacrosse team of the Nation of the Iroquois were not so lucky. Headed to the UK for a competition in Manchester, the UK did not recognize their hand-written documents, and also sought assurance from the USA that the Nationals will be re-admitted into the US airports without US passports…since the Reservations obviously do not have airports of their own. It raised an interesting question. The map of the USA would look something akin to Swiss cheese if the Indian reservations were pulled out of it, as separate nations.  Tellingly, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who was all in favor of the Iroquois traveling on their handwritten tribal passports, said, “It’s a matter of tribal sovereignty and respecting the rights of the Native American population of this country.”   
‘Of this country?’ What country is that exactly? The Iroquois Nation or the USA???

Photos of George Catlin’s paintings courtesy of the Smithsonian via Wikipedia, in public domain.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My New Release--A Romantic Suspense Western Coming January 25!

Locket Full of Love

by Heather Blanton

Was her husband a sinner or a saint? A spy or a traitor? For years Juliet Watts has believed her husband died saving nothing more than a cheap trinket--but the locket he risked his life for turns out to hold a mysterious key. Together, Juliet and military intelligence officer Robert Hall go on a journey of riddles and revelations. But Juliet is convinced Robert is hiding something, too. Maybe it's just his heart...

This was a fun story to write and the research was really interesting. I learned a lot about spying and intelligence departments during the Civil War. Oh, and the first part of the story is based on a TRUE Story. Next month I'll be back with details on some of my research!

I hope you'll check it out and the other books in the Lockets & Lace series. My book releases January 25, and if you pre-order (and let me know), I'll send you a loooooong sneak peek! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Modern Day Staple

Toilet Paper

Hubby and I went grocery shopping today, and of course had to buy toilet paper. That thing that is a staple for us, but hadn’t been back in the old west. Personal rant here—but I know the rolls keep getting smaller and smaller, even the ones manufactures claim are double or triple the average size.
Here are a few other tidbits about toilet paper:

The average American uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper a year.

Manufactures say an average roll of toilet paper lasts five days. (Manufactures have never visited my family, or we are above average.)

In the late 1500’s, when paper became more available, it began to take the place of rocks, stones, sponges, shells, corn cobs, and other various tools that were customarily used for ‘cleaning up’.

Toilet paper, i.e. paper manufactured specifically for ‘cleaning up’ was invented around 1880 by the British Perforated Paper Company and sold in boxes of individual square sheets.

Tiffany’s was one of the first stores in America to carry Woman’s Elegant Stationary directly imported from Europe, and it became such a rage, others soon followed. 

Around 1890, Scott’s Paper Company made the first rolls of paper used for such reasons.  

The Waldrof brand of toilet paper came about because the Scott’s Paper Company convinced the highly regarded and well-known hotel that toilet paper was something no other hotels had and that their customers would appreciate it. (The sales pitch worked and soon Scotts was selling to hotels across America. Other hotels were also able to brand the paper with their name.)

Toilet Paper was an ‘unmentionable’ product, and many were too embarrassed to ask for it by name, so shoppers would merely need to say, ‘Two please’, and the clerks knew what they needed. 

It was so unmentionable, Scotts wouldn’t put its name on the package, hence the various ‘hotel’ brands, they also had many other ‘private’ label brands. 

To keep things discreet, toilet paper was packaged and sold in brown paper.  

Early on, rolls of toilet paper were known to have splinters in them, many complaints and infections encouraged manufactures to find ways to break down the wood fibers more thoroughly. 

In 1901 Northern Paper Mills from Wisconsin introduced its version of toilet paper, which came complete with a wire through the center of the roll so it could be hung on a nail. 

By 1911 Scotts Paper Company had eliminated all the ‘private brands’ and put their name on their products. 

In 1928 the Hoberg Paper in Wisconsin introduced a line of toilet paper. Their logo, a woman’s head on a cameo pin had been designed to appeal to the woman’s fashions of the day. A female employee remarked that the design was ‘charming’ and the name Charmin was born.

1932 Charmin introduced the four-roll package, making it a convenient bundle for purchasers. 

On a separate note:
My next book, Married to Claim the Rancher’s Heir, will be released on February 1!
To claim his heir…
…he must marry his enemy!

Gabe Callaway is outraged when feisty Janette Parker lands on his doorstep with her orphaned niece—though he soon realizes little Ruby is heir to his ranch! If Janette wants money, he’ll pay her off to keep the little girl in her rightful place. But all Janette wants is Ruby… Will Gabe do whatever it takes to claim his heir—even marry Janette?

AND on a completely separate subject that has nothing to do with this blog, but because everyone in my household is still cheering....