Tuesday, January 21, 2020

THE DREADED RED PENCIL




Thanks for joining me on my very first Cowboy Kisses blog post.  I’m dying to know what everyone likes to read about here.  In writer’s Facebook groups, new authors often ask if they need to hire an editor and have their work edited before they self-publish their book.  This question makes me cringe.  No matter how experienced a writer is, or how many books to their credit, a writer’s words will always be improved by a round of good editing.  The key being “good” editing.  Which is a topic for another day.  (Over the years I’ve had some dreadful copyright editors whom I’ve refused to work with)

Lately I’ve had an interesting experience in the world of edits.  I’ve been comparing, line by line, the final version of my accepted manuscript to the traditionally published book.  At the time of publishing I accepted those changes because they improved my work.  Years later, I am a bit shocked at the visual proof my over-wordiness.  Plus I see all my bad habits corrected. 

I consider myself a lean and clean writer, which is clearly not always the case because, like all writers, I love words.  I am also deeply dismayed when I find a typo that was missed by not only me, but an entire team of editors, copy editors and proofreaders at a New York publishing house.

If, while reading a published book, you come across one or two typos forgive us; we are human.  If, however, the book is riddled with errors, that author didn’t take the appropriate time and care, which makes me not want to invest the time to read it. 

How do you feel?  Are you bothered by multiple errors and typos in published books? Or are you so immersed in the story they don’t matter?

Lately I’ve been working on a series of sweet western historicals,  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, yet I couldn’t resist mixing things up with a very steamy contemporary western, UNTAMED.  After all, variety is the spice of life.  And thanks to the electronic book world, readers have more choices than ever before.


         
Taking a chance in the new Wild West.  The chance to be someone else.  The chance to be with him.

“Imagine Nancy Drew meets Sex in the City.”  Roundtable Reviews.


See you next month!   

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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Humble Goober Pea

Image result for free stock photos peanuts historical royalty free"Peas-peas, peas-peas, eating Goober peas." 
 

 Although a native of South America the humble peanut has become a cultural staple in the united states and much has been done to make this simple legume a useful and productive part of the United States.

Before the Civil War Peanuts were not a widely cultivated crop. Peanuts were generally only grown in Virginia and Georgia to replenish soils stripped of nutrients by cotton growth, and for feed for livestock and the poorest of residents. However, once the war kicked into gear and the lack of food and other supplies led many to begin consuming peanuts. Some people even ground them up and mixed them with milk and sugar to drink in place of hard to get coffee.

Goober Peas: 

Image result for free stock photos peanuts historical royalty freeAs the Civil War continued it was common for southern soldiers to eat them as they marched through Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, thus naming them Goober Peas as a dig at the states that grew these humble legumes. Although peanuts were not considered an important crop at this time as soldiers grew to love them many took them home to their own states and experimented with growing them there. This began to legitimize the little legume and they were soon widespread throughout the states.

After the Civil War, the peanut became even more important to the southern states when the boll weevil began to decimate the southern cotton crop. Already economically strained the South had to adjust and many farmers began growing peanuts for animal food until the growing demand for sweet treats such as roasted peanuts and peanut brittle. The poor soil of the southern states also benefited from the nitrogen producing peanut. Peanuts and clover are some of the only plants that naturally restore nitrogen to the earth.
Image result for first commercial brand of peanut butter What really launched the peanut, however, was the increased demand for oil during World War I. Farmers were able to refine peanut oil and sell it while other oils were far more scarce.

"World War I was a factor as well, causing a jump in the demand for edible oils. As the price of peanut oil began to creep upward, the Pensacola News Journal declared that peanut oil was just as certain a source of wealth as petroleum!" (Florida Memory.com)

Today peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the United States. Peanut butter and peanut candy account for a large share of this huge industry.

George Washington Carver is largely credited for experimenting with peanuts but several have been given credit for inventing this most American icon. But is appears he was not the first to experiment with such ideas.


Who invented peanut butter?
There is evidence that ancient South American Inca Indians were the first to grind peanuts to make peanut butter. In the United States, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of cereal fame) invented a version of peanut butter in 1895. Then it is believed that a St. Louis physician may have developed a version of peanut butter as a protein substitute for his older patients who had poor teeth and couldn’t chew meat. Peanut butter was first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.
Related image
My personal favorite brand
Peanuts and peanut butter became an integral part of the Armed Forces rations in World Wars I and II. It is believed that the U.S. army popularized the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for sustenance during maneuvers in World War II" (National Peanut Board)

"Skippy licensed his invention to the company that created Peter Pan peanut butter" in 1928 and in "... 1932 he began producing his own peanut butter under the name Skippy". Under the Skippy brand, Rosefield developed a new method of churning creamy peanut butter, giving it a smoother consistency." (Wikipedia)



So far I haven't included peanuts or peanut butter in my stories but this week I could see the children in Ellery's Eden begging for peanuts at the local store, or eating boiled peanuts as a special treat.

https://amzn.to/2R5ARpf
This book is set in the early 1900s and is the story of a widower, devastated by the loss of his one true love. Arriving home where his parents can care for his four young children he checks out of life only to be pulled back in the most unlikely way.

After two long months of waiting Polly and George Olson's oldest son returns to Biders Clump but he's not the man they once knew. Having lost his wife, Ellery returns home where he knows his children will be well cared for while he checks out of life. Heartbroken and overcome by grief he hides away from the rest of the world unable to even care for his own little ones.
Ernestine Haven is looking for a new job as a governess but when she receives a letter offering her a place at a boarding house in Wyoming she knows there is more to the simple words than meets the eye. Does she have the strength to take the job and provide for the four children who must be so lost and alone? Will going to Biders Clump prove the answer to her prayers or will she once more be forced to leave behind the little ones she has grown to love. Taking the chance that she will find real joy out west Ernie accepts the job but will it prove too much for her soft heart to handle or will it give her the hope and home she has always wanted? 


"Regardless of where you are in life, this story will touch you and bring you a beautiful ending that’s really a precious beginning" Five Star Review!

Don't miss more of Tales from Biders Clump. You can find them all on my webpage. You can even find Ferd's Fair Favor FREE Today!https://www.authordanniroan.com/biders-clump











https://www.floridamemory.com/blog/2018/08/17/goober-peas/
https://www.nationalpeanutboard.org/peanut-info/history-peanuts-peanut-butter.htm


 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_butter

Friday, January 17, 2020

A splash of color ... in your mailbox ~ by Kristine Raymond

With springtime still several months away - at least, according to the calendar - it's time for seed catalogs to begin their annual arrival to mailboxes around the country.  Aside from the fact that most annuals are planted when the danger of frost has passed, I think the publishers of said periodicals mail them during the winter months to add a punch of color to the dreary, gray days of the new year. 

Anyone else want to order one of everything?  Just me, then?

Public domain
The first commercial seed company was founded in 1784 by David Landreth, an immigrant from England who set down roots (pun totally intended) in Philadelphia.  Along with his brother, Cuthbert, he built his seed company into an empire that's still in operation today.  Along with printing one of the first seed catalogs in the country, the seeds that Landreth sold also traveled south to George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and west in covered wagons across the rivers and prairies to untamed lands.

Over the next few years, other mail-order seed companies began sprouting up. 
Public domain



Milo T. Gardner, Dexter M. Ferry, and Eber F. Church started M.T. Gardner & Company (later known as Ferry-Morse) in 1856.





Public domain


In 1868, a fifteen-year-old boy by the name of George W. Park, wanting a little pocket money, took out an advertisement for $3.50 in The Rural American, an investment that returned $6.50 in orders.  Thus began Park Seed, a company that's still in business today.




Public domain
In 1876, a name most home gardeners are familiar with, W. Atlee Burpee, started his own mail-order business selling fancy poultry after borrowing $1000 from his mother.  But as more and more requests flooded in from farmers wanting seeds to plant in their gardens, Burpee recognized the opportunity and expanded his catalog's offerings, and by the 1880s, his was the fastest growing mail-order seed company in the world.

To this day, Burpee's colorful catalogs grace the tops of kitchen tables and nightstands everywhere.

Even places like Seed Savers Exchange, founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy, got its start thanks to earlier generations.  The company launched with two varieties of seeds handed down by Diane's grandfather, whose parents brought them from Bavaria in 1870 when they immigrated to America. 

With careful cultivation and mindfulness, the rich legacy of our ancestors can live forever.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

LOVE AND LANGUAGE


 By Andrea Downing
An earlier version of this post appeared somewhere else, I have no idea where, it was so long ago…

He walks into the room and your heart does a happy dance for a moment, your insides melt and your smile widens to a half moon.  That wisp of possession runs through you as he stops to talk to someone else, giving you a slantways private smile, his eyes telling you he’s bored but had to say hello to this person.  Then, as he releases himself from the irksome duty, nods pleasantly to various persons as he weaves his way toward you, and finally drapes an arm around your shoulder, electrifying you so that your mouth now aches with the even bigger smile, your sense of belonging sends all sorts of pleasurable ‘naughty thoughts’ past your mind’s eye.
OR…
He walks into the room and you automatically glance down at your watch, the crevice between your eyes deepening, but you attempt to keep that smile plastered on your face for the little group with whom you’re currently engaged.  Your face hardens and your eyes pop as he stops to talk to someone else, giving you the tiniest indication to say, ‘can’t help it.’  When he finally weaves his way toward you and possessively drapes an arm around your shoulder, you shrug it off and mumble under your breath, ‘You’re forty-five minutes late.  Where the hell were you?’  You’re boiling inside and know there’ll be a scene when the two of you get home...
Love possesses us and gives a sense of possession.  But possession isn’t control.  Possession isn’t having things your way, and it isn’t, as Eric Segal said in his 1970 novel, Love Story, never having to say you’re sorry—or never having to forgive.  We can interpret actions, facial expressions, tones of voice, and so on in many different ways but without language—to enquire, to explain, or just to state the facts—those interpretations are left wide open.
And that is the premise of my new book, Always on My Mind.  I hope you’ll read it.  It is currently in pre-order with a release date of Feb. 19th.


1972 - Vietnam, the pill, upheaval, hippies.
Wyoming rancher Cooper Byrnes, deeply attached to the land and his way of life, surprises everyone when he falls for vagabond hippie Cassie Halliday. Fascinated and baffled, he cannot comprehend his attraction—or say the words she wants to hear.

Cassie finds Coop intriguingly different. As she keeps house for him and warms his bed at night, she admits to herself she loves him but she misinterprets Coop's inability to express his feelings.

Parted, each continues to think of the other, but how can either of them reach out to say, "You were 'always on my mind'?"


In pre-order at: 

   https://www.amazon.com/Always-My-Mind-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B082S8TQD1/


Excerpt:

He was alien, an oddity. But then, that’s why she was traveling, to see the unusual, get outside of her own little world, meet people who had different ideas, broaden her mind and learn to think in a different way, see if people acted differently from those back in Boston. And then, there would be Haight-Ashbury and independence and a new life. The clothes he wore were like a costume, made him even more foreign—the hat, the snapper shirt with a string tie, the pressed jeans and boots. And then the short curly hair with sideburns. She liked his face, found him attractive—brown eyes like rich chocolate, the parenthesis around his mouth when he smiled. And the voice—a low tone, like a bass tuning up with a bit of gravel caught amongst the strings.
He didn’t offer to buy her a drink but maybe that wasn’t the done thing around here. He certainly knocked back his own, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stood there eyeing her as if he were trying to decide what to do next. She felt like a slab of meat he was considering eating, uneasy in his gaze. She turned to watch the dancers, thought of getting away and finding her friends but going back to the situation with Dave seemed so much less appealing than staying with this Coop.
 Someone had cleared the mess, left the leg of a broken chair leaning against the bar like a policeman’s baton waiting to be used. The smoke from everyone’s cigarettes irritated her eyes and she wondered if her makeup had smudged as her eyes teared. The smell of spilt beer fought with the smoke as Elvis started singing ‘Always on My Mind’ from the jukebox.
Cooper tapped her elbow. “You dance?”
“Not like that.” She watched as couples circled about the floor in slow steps. “I could try I suppose.”
Cooper grimaced. “Come on then.” A note of reluctance colored his voice. “Let’s see what you can do.”
He took her hands, placing her left on his shoulder and resting his right on her back to guide her. She felt like a fool, there among the women who knew the steps, exactly how to dance, wearing their flared skirts and frilly tucked-in blouses. She stumbled, but when Coop caught her and tapped her along, she followed.
He was much older than she, and she felt slightly uncomfortable in his arms, a no-doubt experienced man. The thought of sleeping with him vaguely crossed her mind, but she wondered if older men had more expectations and she wouldn’t know what to do, or even want to do it.
“I like this song.” It was an offering, an ‘I’m not as different as you might think’ she was giving him.
“You like Elvis?”
“Yeah. I don’t know much about him, other than what I’ve seen on TV. But I like him. Though I like Dylan better, of course.”
Cooper snorted. “Of course. All that freedom stuff. You all back east are really big into freedom until you get called up to serve. Then you find a way out, grad school or what have you.”
Was that bitterness in his voice?
“I don’t see you serving your country.” She glared at him, then looked away.
Coop heaved out a breath. “They won’t take me. I got a II-C—agricultural deferment due to being the only man in my family working my ranch.”
“So you found a way out.”
“Against my will. I’ll bet you anything somewhere in your family is a brother or cousin or some such who got out because he didn’t want to fight and went off to some fancy school or whatever, happy as you please.”
She knew he was waiting for a response, baiting her. “I haven’t got a brother; I’m an only child. And anyway, we’re certainly not rich enough for some fancy grad school as you put it.” Something suddenly struck her and she glanced around. “Shit, where’d the others go?”
“What others? Your friends? Probably kicked out for fighting.”
She took her hands away, stood staring at him, her eyes stinging as tears began to blossom. “They get kicked out but your friend—Ty?—who threw the first punch is sitting there as if nothing had happened?”
“Absolutely. He’s a regular. Of course, they’re not going to throw him out. When will your friends come back here? Never, I’d guess. Ty comes every week. He wouldn’t have caused trouble if your pal Dave hadn’t started it.”
She scrambled in her jean pocket and pulled out a small plastic packet followed by a bill. “Shit,” she muttered.
“You always talk like that?”
“Like what?”
“That word. I don’t often hear a woman say that, not leastways a nice one.”
She stuffed the five dollars and the stash back into her jeans. “You’ve got to be kidding. Are you living in some time warp here? Men are allowed to use some words women aren’t? You must be joking!” Panic started to rise within her, the thought of being left with this guy worrying.
Coop got hold of her arm and yanked her out of the way of the dancers. “Such a pretty little thing and such an ugly word coming out of that rose bud of a mouth.”
But all she could do was bite her lip to try to stop the tears. Where were her friends? She didn’t know where their van was parked or where she might spend the night.
“What’s the matter now? You trying to figure out how to smoke that crap you have there?”
“No, no, of course not. I just don’t know where the van is. We parked on some side street and strolled around the town a while before coming here.”
“What van?”
“The van we’re all living in.”
“Living in? All of you, together?”
“Four of us. What, you think we’re staying in some fancy hotel?”
Cooper ran his hand over his face, his eyes still on her. “Look, you can come home with me and—”
“Ha! You think I’m easy, that you can just take advantage because I’m from out of town.”
“Oh, for chrissake. I’m not going to take advantage of you. Don’t you fret. There’s a spare room where you can sleep for the night and in the morning I’ll have someone, if not myself, find your friends for you. Shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s a small town. Or would they leave without you?”
 “No, I don’t think they’ll do that.” She couldn’t read his thoughts, whether he was genuinely concerned for her or trying to get her into his bed. And she wasn’t sure about where her friends might be, but then that psychedelic painted VW bus shouldn’t be too hard to spot in daylight. And she didn’t fear him, thought he was probably a man of his word, though she wasn’t sure why.
“Well, what is it then? You wanna sleep on the street? It’s a warm May night, might only be a bit of frost later—”
“Yes, if you have a spare room.”
“Right. I’ll just have another beer before they shut down.”



Tuesday, January 14, 2020

AH JANUARY!

Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines


It's January and a time of new beginnings. At the same time, it is also a time of reflection and looking back at the past. How many make 'resolutions' or 'intentions' based on what did or didn't happen prior to the start of the new year?

So how and what will I write about this year? I will always be in research mode, so I guess I can be counted on to share any new or exciting things I find in the 'stacks'. I am one of those who loves reading old newspapers and magazines. An author friend always goes for the advertisements first thing. It seemed odd to me until I took a look at what can be gleaned from those bits of information.

For example, here is an ad for cattle brands in the Fairplay Plume of February 12, 1880:

User clipping image

For writers, it may be the time you set your 'marketing' schedule for the year. Maybe you decide to finish those projects you started. There are all kinds of free and low-cost templates you can download to help keep you on track. I have a small calendar I keep by my computer to track the number of words I write on my current project. Believe it or not, it does help keep me on track to finishing the project.

Image result for free clip art for writers



Maybe it's time to set aside the funds and plan what writer's conference you might attend. January is a good time to see what might be coming that would push you to the next level. Perhaps you just want to do workshops. January is a great time to start planning.

If you are a reader, what get-togethers might you be interested in? Is there an author or authors you would love to spend time with? Sometimes they don't even know how much they mean to you. Maybe this year is the one where you contact them. There are also author events in various areas of the country. January is a great time to see what may be happening in your area that would be a chance to meet your favorites.

PPLD 2019 
Whatever you would like to have happen in the coming year, January is a great time to start looking and planning. So as you move through 2020, use the month of January to see where you might like the year to go and what it would look like to you.




Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here