Friday, November 27, 2020

The Ojibwe People by Zina Abbott

According to my cell phone calendar, today is Native American Heritage Day. In keeping with that, I wish to share a few details about the largest Native American tribe in the United States, the Ojibwe (Ojibwa, Ojibway, Chippewa).


The Anishinaabeg (singular Anishinaabe) is the umbrella name for the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. The names "Ojibwe" and "Chippewa" are essentially different spellings of the same word, "otchipwa," which means "to pucker," a likely reference to the distinctive puckered seam on an Ojibwa moccasin. It can also refer to the Ojibwe custom of writing on birch bark. Individuals from this tribe generally refer to themselves as Anishinaabe.

The language spoken by the Ojibwe is called Anishinaabem or Ojibwemowin, as well as the Chippewa or Ojibwe language. An Algonquian language, Anishinaabem is not a single language, but rather a chain of linked local varieties, with nearly a dozen different dialects. There are about 5,000 speakers across Canada and the United States; the most endangered dialect is southwestern Ojibwe, with between 500–700 speakers. 


According to Ojibwe oral history, supported by linguistic and archaeological studies, the ancestors of the Anishinaabeg migrated from the Atlantic Ocean, or perhaps Hudson Bay, following the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Straits of Mackinac. They arrived there about 1400. They continued expanding west, south, and northward. 

There are several theories given for this migration. One was, due to a combination of prophecies around 1,500 years ago that urged them to move west to "the land where food grows on water." That referred to wild rice and served as a major incentive to migrate westward. Eventually some bands made their homes in the northern area of present-day Minnesota.

The Ojibwe migrated westward over the course of many centuries. They moved in small groups and followed the Great Lakes. By the time the French arrived in the Great Lakes area in the early 1600s, the Ojibwe were well established at Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area.

Another reason for their migration was to escape tribal warfare.

A third possible reason was climate change.

The Ojibwe was the largest and most powerful tribe in the Great Lakes area. The advantage of having superior weapons was one of the reasons why the Ojibwe turned to more habitual wars with other natives. Their fierce, warlike reputation and their sheer numbers made them one of the most feared tribes. They were able to take territories from other tribes as needed and extended their territories across a large area. During the Beaver Wars, the Ojibwe fought with the Fox, Mundua, Huron, Winnebago and Iroquois.

The Ojibwe people have a long history within the Midwest long before whites came in the 1600s looking for furs. Some adopted the lifestyle of the buffalo hunters of the Great Plains. Their histories date far back to days before anything was recorded, so the long past events come only in the traditional passing down of stories from generation to generation.

New France and the Fur Trade

The French established New France in the 1600's and established trading links with the Ojibwe, who they referred to as the Sauteux. Like most of the Algonquian-speaking tribes they became strong allies of the French fighting against the English and the tribes of the powerful Iroquois Confederacy. They expanded their territories to control most of lower Michigan and southern Ontario.

Ojibwe and Confederacies

The Ottawa people were one of the few tribes that the Ojibwe were in close alliance with. They traded furs back and forth, and with the introduction of the French fur traders into the area, were able to acquire European goods through the Ottawa without much contact with whites.

In 1769 the Chippewa formed a confederacy known as "The Three Fires" with the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes aimed at forcing the Peoria tribe from the Illinois River.

In 1785 the Ojibwe joined the Western Confederacy that consisted of a league of many different tribes including the Potawatomi, Ottawa, Shawnee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Huron and the Seneca tribes. The goal of the Western Confederacy was to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native American lands and the United States. There were no wars between the Americans and Ojibwe after 1815 and the majority of the Ojibwe remained in their homelands in the United States and Canada.


The Ojibwe and the Dakota

The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers was a place of diplomacy and trade for the Ojibwe. They met with Dakota people at Mni Sni (Coldwater Spring) and after European Americans arrived, they frequented the area to trade, treat with the US Indian Agent, and sign treaties.

Ojibwe delegations gathered at Fort Snelling in 1820 to meet with local Dakota leaders and in 1825 before traveling to Prairie du Chien for treaty negotiations. In 1837 more than 1,000 Ojibwe met Dakota and US representatives at the confluence to negotiate another treaty. The Ojibwe forced a rare provision into the Treaty of St. Peters, retaining the right to hunt, fish, gather wild rice, and otherwise use the land as they always had.

Throughout the fur trade era, the Ojibwe valued their relationship with the Dakota above those they maintained with European Americans. While historians have frequently cited ongoing conflict between the Ojibwe and Dakota, the two peoples were more often at peace than at war. In 1679 the Ojibwe and the Dakota formed an alliance through peaceful diplomacy at Fond du Lac in present-day Minnesota. The Ojibwe agreed to provide the Dakota with fur trade goods, and in return the Dakota permitted the Ojibwe to move west toward the Mississippi River. During this period of peace that lasted for fifty-seven years, the Ojibwe and Dakota often hunted together, created families together, shared their religious experiences, and prospered.

In 1737, a war with the Dakota people won the Ojibwe a large portion of Northern Minnesota, climaxing a long rivalry between the two tribes. The French were strong advocates for the Ojibwe, using them and other Indian allies to gain the most control of the land that they could, hoping to get better trade areas than the British. French diplomats convinced Ojibwe to attack certain tribes that might be in their way, and provided guns and other weapons to insure their dominance. They also got some Ojibwe to come to their own home forts in Quebec and Montreal to defend against the British, establishing a firm alliance between the two.

In the mid-1700s, the Ojibwe's westward expansion was finally halted in North Dakota when they ran into a better armed enemy – the Lakota. They had large numbers of horses and were able to hold their own territory against intruders.

By the middle of the 1800s, intertribal conflict was abandoned as both tribes were overwhelmed by challenges posed by the surge of European American settler-colonists.

Ojibwe and Americans

After the fur traders, the first Europeans who held sustained contact with the Ojibwe people were missionaries who arrived in Minnesota in 1832. They were Calvinist New Englanders who were associated with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The Ojibwe welcomed them into their communities, seeing them as agents of alliance with the Europeans, while the ABCFM saw their role strictly to convert the people to Christianity. The misunderstanding created a mixed blessing. One benefit to the Ojibwe was the information about European plans and lifestyles they gained. 

By the mid-19th century, the Ojibwe had become alarmed at the decline of both game and fur-bearing animals in their country. The recognized that the growing number of Euro-Americans was responsible. Particularly damaging were those commercial interests that built roads and homesteads and began logging activities.

Some Ojibwe responded by increasing their reliance on agriculture, especially wild rice, and the technology, tools, and equipment of the foreigners were considered to be useful for promoting that. Others had no interest at all in U.S. farming technology. This increased tensions within the tribe between those who supported a war against the Europeans and those who favored cooperating with them.

Traditional Clothing

The different types of clothes worn by the Ojibwe tribe that were dictated by climate and customs. The men wore breechcloths in the summer. In the winter they wore fringed, decorated tunics, high moccasins and leggings and turbans of soft fur.

The women wore wraparound skirts or buckskin dresses. They wore their hair in long braids.

Both men and women wore moccasins and ponchos in colder temperatures. Warm robes or cloaks were also worn to protect against the rain and the cold. Clothes were decorated and colored with red, blue, yellow and green dyes.

Some Chippewa crafts were made for beauty however, many were designed for much more practical uses such as for example baskets, wampum, snowshoes, and moccasins. The art of the Chippewa consist of fantasy catchers and complex beadwork.

To learn more about these two Ojibwe warriors, Sha-co-pay and A-wun-ne-wa-be painted by George Catlin in 1832, please CLICK HERE.

Society and Government

The Ojibwe primary prehistoric mode of existence was based on hunting and fishing, harvesting wild rice, and harvesting maple sap to made maple sugar and syrup. The lived in small communities of wigwams or wickiups (their traditional dwellings), and traveled inland waterways in birch bark canoes that were specifically recognized for being well-crafted and graceful. The were light and lean, yet strong.

The Chippewa not only caught several types of seafood, however they in addition caught crayfish, mussels, frogs and turtles. The nucleus of the Ojibwe world was the island of Michilimackinac ("the great turtle"), famous for pike, sturgeon, and whitefish. 

Ojibwe communities were historically based on clans, or "doodem," which determined a person's place in Ojibwe society. Different clans represented different aspects of Ojibwe society; for example, political leaders came from the loon or crane clans, while warriors were traditionally from the bear, martin, lynx, and wolf clans.

Among the Ojibwe, honor and prestige came with generosity. Ojibwe culture and society were structured around reciprocity, with gift-giving playing an important social role. During a ceremony reinforced with an exchange of gifts, parties fulfilled the social expectations of kinship and agreed to maintain a reciprocal relationship of mutual assistance and obligation. Many fur traders, and later European and American government officials, used gift-giving to help establish economic and diplomatic ties with various Ojibwe communities.


The traditional Ojibwe religion, Midewiwin, sets down a path of life to follow (mino-bimaadizi). That path honors promises and elders, and values behaving moderately and in coherence with the natural world. Its theology centers on a belief in a single creating force but also incorporates a wide pantheon of spirits that play specific roles in the universe. Midewiwin is closely tied to indigenous medicine and healing practices based on an extensive understanding of the natural plants of the regions in which the Ojibwa reside. The practice involves songs, dances, and ceremonies. 


The belief is that humans are comprised of a physical body and two distinct souls. One is the seat of intelligence and experience (jiibay), which leaves the body when asleep or in trance; the other is seated in the heart (ojichaag), where it remains until freed at death.

Ojibwe historical and spiritual beliefs were passed down to succeeding generations by teaching, birch bark scrolls and rock art pictographs. 

Many Ojibwe today practice Catholic or Episcopal Christianity, but continue to keep the spiritual and healing components of the old traditions. 

Surviving American Reservations

After the birth of the United States, treaties began to be made selling off land between the Native Americans and new settlers. The Ojibwe had little conflict with the United States during their reign, even after Fort Snelling was built in Minnesota to try to section off the Dakota from the Ojibwe. This may have been because they knew they had little chance of victory over the numerous, technologically advanced settlers, but they continued to attack the Dakota.

Treaties making land trades began in the 1800s between Euro-Americans and the Ojibwe. being cheated out on the books by whites who wanted to make more money, the Ojibwe found themselves in debt with the fur traders. Selling land was one of their most immediate sources for cash, and the Americans were all too eager to take it up from them. Copper and lumber were in great demand, and the Ojibwe were on land that had a lot of it. In exchange for their territories, the tribes were moved on to reservations, almost all of which were too small to fully support the entire groups of people sent there. The Ojibwe were given very little choice in the matter. Between 1854 and 1856, all of the Ojibwe reservation plans were organized, sending many people either out of their homes, or into much smaller plots than they once owned. The reservations were often too dense to fully keep up all of their traditions like hunting. 

The end result of the approximately fifty different treaties were such that in the late 1870s and 1880s, there would be twenty-two different reservations. The rules required the Ojibwe to clear the land of trees and farm it. Subtle but persistent cultural resistance allowed the Ojibwe to continue their traditional activities, but hunting and fishing off-reservation became more difficult with increased sport fishermen and hunters, and competition for game from commercial sources. 

To survive, the Ojibwe people leveraged their traditional food sources—roots, nuts, berries, maple sugar, and wild rice—and sold the surplus to local communities. By the 1890s, the Indian Service pressed for more logging on Ojibwe lands, but multiple fires fueled by downed timber on and off the reservation ended that in 1904. The burned-over areas, however, resulted in an increase in berry crops. 

The Ojibwe people are among the largest population of indigenous people in North America, with over 200,000 individuals living in Canada—primarily in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan—and the United States, in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. The Canadian government recognizes more than 130 Chippewa First Nations, and the U.S. recognizes 22. The Ojibwe people today reside on small reservations or in small towns or urban centers. 

Today in Minnesota, the United States recognizes six different bands of the Ojibwe nation, including: Boise Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and the White Earth (Ojibwe). Although the tribe underwent great recession with the involvement of whites settling America, they are still one of the largest groups of Native Americans around, with the total estimated number of people comprising the tribe as 190,000.

When I wrote my first book featuring Luke McDaniels and Ling Loi (Joy), Escape from Gold Mountain, I knew I was setting up a romance between a Chinese woman and a man of a different race—a situation with which not everyone is comfortable. Ling Loi’s character was based on an actual historical person. For my fictional hero, I chose to have him be one-quarter Native American. Based on the existing prejudices and laws in the 1880s, I decided Luke’s Native tribe needed to live in a state that did not have anti-miscegenation laws (laws against marriage between of those of different races}. To fit his story of how he arrived in California, I chose Minnesota and the Ojibwa tribe.

It was not until I wrote Gift of Restitution that I needed to settle on a band. The seven Ojibwe reservations in Minnesota are Bois Forte (Nett Lake), Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, White Earth, and Red Lake. Fond du Lac is the closest to Duluth, a fairly large city on the shore of Lake Superior, which best suited Luke’s back story.

What prompted me to write Gift of Restitution was a loose end in the first book. Luke was a basically decent man who managed—thanks to the two outlaws, Charley and Tex—to get himself entangled in illegal activities. As struggled to free himself and rescue Ling Loi, he tried to do the right thing without putting himself at risk. However, in one instance, Luke paid what he felt he could afford even though he recognized it did not honestly cover the cost of what he took. This story was written to allow Luke to redeem himself. As I finished the book, I felt as though I had been guided by an unseen hand.

While I did more research for my latest book, I found Ojibwe to be the preferred spelling for this tribe. However, when I wrote the first book, I went with the spelling my spell-checker accepted. Although I prefer the Ojibwe spelling, for the sake of consistency in both books, I spelled it Ojibwa.


To find the book description and purchase link for Gift of Restitution, please CLICK HERE.







Wednesday, November 25, 2020


a Christmas Miracle Story

by Dorothy Wiley

Storyteller of love and heroes on the American Frontier

In these difficult times, I thought it might be appropriate to tell you about the inspiration for the fifth book in my American Wilderness Series RomancesFRONTIER GIFT OF LOVE. In this novel, love, hope, and faith have to be stronger than their misfortunes. The same is true now. We have to believe that life will soon return to normal. And when it does, because of what we have learned this year, we will be stronger and safer from future viruses that are not only incredibly contagious but also highly deadly. What would have happened if this virus struck the United States in the 1700s or 1800s? Modern medicine couldn't save everyone who got this virus, but undoubtedly many thousands if not millions of lives have been saved. 

Speaking of modern medicine, thirty-eight and a half years ago, I was a few days away from my due date for the arrival of my baby when the doctor gave me some unexpected news. My baby was breech. His next words were even more shocking. A natural birth would pose a significant threat to both my life and my baby's. I had to have a scheduled Caesarian delivery. Since that day, I have wondered many times what would have happened had I been born a hundred years ago? The answer is grimit would be likely that neither my son, Robert, nor I would be alive. And if Robert wasn't, then there would be no Case, our three-year-old grandson. 

Thankfully, I had a Cesarean and delivered my son with no problems. Today, one-third of American babies are delivered via C-section, both for elective and medical reasons. However, in pioneer times, women feared not only their baby dying during childbirth, but dying themselves. Had I been delivering in 1799, I might have had to face death to save my baby. In those days, the Caesarian procedure was performed only when the mother was dead or dying, as an attempt to save the child. 

The first recorded successful Cesarean in the British Empire was conducted by a woman. Sometime between 1815 and 1821, James Miranda Stuart Barry performed the operation while masquerading as a man and serving as a physician to the British army in South Africa. By 1885, the procedure was still not common practice. 

The problem with a Cesarean section in the pre-antibiotic era was that septic complications were still very common. In fact, my own grandmother died in 1918 of septic complications after delivering my father in Denver. Her name was Dorothy and I was named after her.

Sometimes in the midst of a hopeless situation, like the one Catherine and Captain Sam face in FRONTIER GIFT OF LOVE, a miracle happens. This poignant novel is about believing in miraclesespecially the gift of love. It is also about the hardships and challenges of life on the western frontierKentucky in 1799. These plucky pioneers never give up. They persevere and come up with creative solutions and face their problems with courage. We can all learn from them as we face another difficult year.

FRONTIER GIFT OF LOVE is also a story of all the Wyllies. Sam and Catherine are reunited with brothers Stephen, William, and Bear and their wives and families at Christmas time. Together, they have a chance to celebrate a Christmas miracle.

A LARAMIE AWARD FINALIST, this novel has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with 300 reader reviews. The story has many twists and turns, some heartrending and others lighthearted. 


Until Christmas, this full-length eBook is on sale for just .99 cents. Get your copy on Amazon at this link:

"This story has everything; action, adventure, corrupt scoundrels, and unending love." - Amazon Kindle Reader

"This is an amazing American frontier tale!" - Julie York, InD'Tale Magazine, Crowned Heart for Excellence Review

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

~Time for the Great Turkey Roundup~

 This week we will all eat ourselves into a coma and smile with each bite. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed into law a proclamation establishing the fourth Thursday as a Day of Thanks across our nation. It is the one and only time, we throw the idea of, "How many calories did you say this was?" out the window and in it's place, we say, "Another slice of pie, please." before we head to the living room, crank up the recliner, and watch the football game through the back of our eyelids.

But, back when our nation was just being settled, a Thanksgiving meal had many a variation, all though all of it some of the best. We might sit down to sweet potato casserole, green beans, collards, cornbread and/or oyster stuffing, cranberries, hot rolls, mash potatoes, gravy and of course turkey. Folks in the California gold fields might have sliced a watermelon. In Senora, Mexico, Elizabeth Le Breta Gunn made 6 pumpkin pies, 2 cranberry pies, and Rooster Pie. (My guess is he crowed one time to many under her window.)

In Nebraska around 1863 the Governor urged his female constituents to get their turkey's ready or it was only 15 days till the holidays. Why, even the prisoners in San Quentin went all out. They decorated their forlorn walls with flags, flowers, and evergreens. They roasted mutton, roasted pork, had apples, peas, pies, and cakes. Cities in the Midwest, spread their tables with Blue Point Oysters, Little Neck Clams, calf's brains, buffalo tongue, red snapper, black bass, salmon, capon, turkey, duck ribs of beef, veal, quail stuffed with truffles, elk, squirrel, opossum, shrimp, pompano, asparagus, artichokes, puddings, pies, cream macaroons. I can see why it would take 15 days to create such a feast!

But whatever you serve, it is a holiday to come together as a family. This year, will be harder. This year like in 1918, we must protect our families from what we might have come in contact with so that come Christmas or Easter, WE can gather together.

So, set that table. Leave on place for your computer. Gather in Zoom or other programs that allow you to see faces, to hear voices, to gaze upon those who you hold dear. It's still Thanksgiving. But, I would rather you do so, because I'm selfish. You see, you are my friends. To lose even one of you would be a tragedy more than my heart could bear.

I will leave you with my heart felt wishes for a wonderful holiday. Love those near and far. Visit virtually. Loosen those belts. Give thanks for elastic, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving Dinner also known as Freedom from Want. Painted as part of the four freedoms and inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 speech. It was finished in 1942 and used in the March 6th, 1943 Saturday Evening Post. 

Until next time, 

Nan O'Berry

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Thanksgiving Tidings

Hello I’m Ruthie Manier. I’m thankful for all of you who joined me here today. I’m also thankful for beautiful horses as I see them in pastures close to where I live when I’m driving down HWY 9.

This picture was taken the other day when my son, grandsons, and I were on a drive. We noticed these horses and pulled over to say hi. They were sweet and enjoyed the petting. 

Question to all you horse owners, do you mind when people stop and pet your horses without asking? 

This Thursday is Thanksgiving and I’m so excited to make my family a delicious traditional meal. I must admit that I’ve only made turkey a couple of times in my entire life preferring ham instead. Usually my family goes to my sister Teresa’s for the holiday because I work, but this year due to COVID everything has changed for all of us. I’m sure you agree. I was lucky this year and I have the day off so I can cook the meal. 

For breakfast on Thanksgiving we’ve decided to have a pie competition and eat pie. It might become a new tradition for our family. What about all of you, do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? Comment if you do. I’d love to hear from you! 

Since it’s going to be a long weekend for many of us we’ll need a good book for those quiet times. This here is my Chasing Time series. There are three books in my time travel, western romance series The other two are named TUCKER and MARISSA. The stories are about the Clark family who are all close and loyal to each other. There’s nothing the Clark family wouldn’t do for the other even if their lives could be at stake, and sometimes their hearts.

After Jesse left, Skylar scanned the floor again for her cell, but it was in vain. Overcome with anxiety, she listened at the door for his footsteps to disappear before trying to flee. She was surprised to hear him talking to an older, boisterous woman just outside.
"Well, of course! Whatever you want, Jesse honey," the woman said in a rough voice that sounded like she had smoked her entire life. She had a southern accent that was sweeter than honey and could charm a cowboy out of his last dollar.
“We’re only here for your pleasure, hon. To be honest, though, I don’t recall hiring a new girl,” the woman said.
Oh shit! This isn’t good.
“I’ve never seen her before,” Jesse replied, “and I’ve been renting this room off and on since the poker game began. So, I’m pretty sure I am more than familiar with all your girls by now. This one definitely is new.
“If she had been around here long, I would’ve heard talk about her from the other men. She’s feisty and beautiful, a splendid combination.”
Hmm, he thinks I’m beautiful.
“Perhaps she stays busy in the cages and seldom comes down to
the casino. But don’t worry, honey. She’ll be waiting right here for you when you need her.”
Like hell, I will.
“Wind it up, Jesse. We’re all waiting to start,” a male voice called from the tables.
“On my way, Doc,” he called out.
Doc? Could he be talking to Doc Holiday?
Cummings couldn’t believe her ears.
“Thanks, Madam Rosie,” Jesse said before marching off to the
game. Skylar tried to look through the peep hole. She wanted to get a look at the woman the cowboy addressed. She wasn’t surprised when he slapped the matronly woman’s backside, much as he had her own.
She giggled and slapped his hand away playfully but remained outside the door. Skylar stiffened, waiting for her to move away so she

could return to the tour. She had no plans of adding actress to her resume.
Madame Rosie didn’t follow Jesse to the casino, though. She whipped the door open and stepped into the tiny room. She was a barrel of a woman with jet black hair, painted lips and powdered face. She glared at her with dark eyes, hands on ample hips and her mighty chest heaving. She surveyed her with a certain amount of contempt.
“You’re not one of my girls!” she proclaimed after examining Skylar from head to toe. “You’re just a skinny little runt. I’d never hire someone as fragile as you. You’d never survive a week here.
“I don’t know what Jesse sees in you. You’ve got a pretty face, but no body. I’ll bet you wouldn’t know how to give pleasure to a man if you had his hardware in your mouth and his gold in your hand.”
Skylar gulped air. She wanted out, but there was no getting past this bull of a woman. She didn’t like being insulted but retaliation was out of the question. The woman was twice her size and muscular. Her dark blue eyes were menacing and her massive hands, as big as any man’s, were waving in the air with every insult. She belonged in a wrestling ring, not in the halls of a museum.
Moves she learned in martial arts class in college were running through her head as the woman’s disparaging appraisal continued.
“At least you’ve got some wits about you. Keep your mouth shut. If you do as I say, and only what I say, you might get out of here alive. Now, who the hell are you, and how did you manage to get past my doormen and into Jesse’s room?”
Skylar didn’t know how to respond. She was so confused she could barely remember her name. She had no idea how to explain her arrival at the Bird Cage Theater, her appearance or how she ended up in the cowboy’s room.
“Are you another one of those money-grubbing wenches who is after Jesse’s money?” the woman challenged.
She didn’t want Jesse’s money; she wanted out.
“My name is Skylar; my friends call me Sky,” she replied. “To tell you the truth, I think I might have been drugged. I have no idea how I got here.”
Her menacing eyes softened as a look of concern crossed Rosie’s face. Then, she laughed and said, “What? Honey, did some big, bad
Ruthie L. Manier

wolf of a man drug you and bring you here to my establishment? What did he drug you with? Did they put laudanum in your drink? Who was it? I’ll send for the marshal.”
“That’s the problem.” Skylar said, crossing her arms over her chest and trying to look sorrowful. “I didn’t get a look at my abductor.”
Long before she studied martial arts, her mother had her take acting lessons. Skylar prayed they were finally paying off. She feigned tears and mild hysteria.
“Oh, no! Please, don’t cry,” the burly woman said as she took the distressed damsel into her arms to comfort her. “Would you like ol’ Rosie to fetch you some water, honey?”
Skylar nodded, pleased with her performance. Perhaps her act was working. She dabbed one eye with the embroidered hanky she was offered and awaited the opportunity for escape.
As soon as the woman turned to fetch water, Skylar sprinted for the door. She pulled it open and raced down a hallway that led to a stairway and the backstage of the theatre. She took the steps two at a time. As she ran toward freedom, an uneasy feeling gnawed at the back of her neck.
Looking over her shoulder, she was happy Madame Rosie wasn’t following. When she reached the short staircase on the other side of the stage, she leaped across it and entered an empty theatre.
She stopped immediately, though. The auditorium was nothing like it had been before. Every part of the room -- from the wallpaper to the curtains -- was sparkling new; it hadn’t been tarnished by one hundred years of aging. She marveled at the transition while keeping her trembling legs moving toward the exit. She cursed the horrible gown that slowed her escape, curling around her legs and threatening to trip her.
As she neared the saloon, music and laughter filled her ears. Still, she didn’t stop. She was desperate to get away.
She stopped abruptly when she entered the once surreal saloon. It now was filled with a rollicking crowd of actors, dressed in nineteenth century garb. She rubbed her eyes with her fists. Everything looked so authentic. A band of loud and rough looking cowboys, miners, and ladies of the night filled the chamber. They were dancing, playing cards, flirting and fulfilling desires she did not wish to witness.

She pushed through the revelers, trying to avoid the drunks and the rattiest looking of the crowd. Just as her escape route came into view, a big, strong arm wrapped around her waist and lifted her from her feet.
“Where do you think you are going in such a rush, wench?” a burly voice asked.
She was assaulted by his rank breath and body odor. He must not have bathed in over a year, because her stomach wretched at the stench. He had a long beard and only a few teeth that were stained yellow. She kicked at him, her shoes hammering his shins until his arms fell away and she was free again. The outside world was ten yards away.
Her freedom was short-lived, though. Her path was blocked by a second man who was the size of a mountain. He wore all black and looked meaner than a grizzly bear awakened on a winter night. Two cowboys stood at his side and blocked her passage. All three had six- shooters strapped to their massive thighs.
“Well, lookee, boys!” he barked. “It’s about time Rosie got a whore worth looking at. I believe I’ll be up in one of them cages for a while.”
His comments amused his friends, not Skylar.
“I call seconds,” one of them blurted out and spat on the floor.
As fearful as she was of her surroundings, Skylar was startled and
paralyzed by the sound of a gunshot. The blast was deafening. She covered her ears as blood flew everywhere.
As one cowboy crumbled to the floor, he grabbed for her and ripped her dress. She almost tumbled after him. She looked up and spotted the drunken miner who had just accosted her. He had a smoking gun pointing over her shoulder.
The room suddenly went wild. Fists flew. Tables and chairs were knocked over and more shots rang out. She became more desperate to escape when a bullet slammed into the miner’s chest and blew him backward against a wall.
She screamed and exited onto the street.
Again, Skylar was stunned by the transformation of her
surroundings. The once-quiet roadway was jammed with horses and wagons. A stagecoach skidded to a stop not far away. The air was fresh but dusty. Darkness had fallen, but kerosene-fed lamps sent golden

Ruthie L. Manier

light cascading into the street from dozens of businesses and saloons. Tombstone was alive with activity. It no longer was a quiet tourist destination.
Without warning, she was grabbed from behind again. Squeezed by a strong arm and lifted from her feet, Skylar fought like a banshee to free herself.
“Let me go!” she demanded.
“Woman, are you crazy? You almost got ran over by the Tombstone Stagecoach,” a stranger barked. A star on his chest indicated he was the marshal.
Tall and lean, he wore a black leather vest over a white shirt. He had a black mustache and dark eyes. His hardened stare was as arresting as any she had ever seen.
Rescued, real tears began to flow down Skylar’s cheeks. She was shaking and blubbering when a familiar voice rang out.
“Marshal, arrest that woman!” Rosie shouted.
Two heads turned toward the Bird Cage Theater.
“Why, what’s she done?” the marshal asked.
“Well, didn’t you see her running from my establishment?” Rosie
explained, lumbering forward, her arms churning like a locomotive. “Yeah, I reckon I did,” the marshal said, spitting a stream of tobacco juice onto the street. “She looked pretty frightened, too. What the hell is going on over there? Rosie, are you forcing women to work
off their husband’s gambling debts again?”
“Now, Marshal, you know I run an upscale business. The judge
dropped all those charges. You know that,” Rosie explained, batting her eyelashes innocently at the lawman.
“Uh huh, that’s why it’s known as the wildest, wickedest nightspot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast,” the marshal responded. “It’s no matter, Marshal,” Rosie said, waving her hand and pointing
a finger at Skylar. “This woman was up to no good. She snuck by my doormen to gain entry to my establishment. Then, when approached, she lied to me about somebody drugging her. She pretended to be a prostitute so she could sneak into Jesse’s room. Why, she’s even wearing one of the dresses I provide for my girls. So, she’s also a thief.”
“I’m not a prostitute or a thief,” Skylar barked.

Then, she felt the coins Jesse had deposited in her bodice and was overcome with dismay. She fainted into the arms of the marshal.
“Somebody get the doc,” the lawman called out to onlookers who had been drawn to the commotion. “And don’t you go too far, Rosie. You’ve got some answering to do about those shots I heard coming from your place.

Here is Tucker’s link:



Hidden agendas

Lucy opened her eyes, assuming she had experienced another short blackout. It took her eyes a minute to focus. She could see a shadow in front of her. Then, she realized it was a man reaching for his gun. She assumed it was the cowboy she had happened upon. Had it been hours ago or only minutes? How long had she been out?

“You again,” she said, trying to clear the cobwebs from her brain. 

“Yes, it’s me. Who did you think it was?” Tucker replied, somewhat mystified by her words. 

“Um, I figured you disappeared,” she said with an odd smile.

“You wish, sweetheart. I’m not one of those ghosts you came here to play hide-and-seek with. Nowgrab my hand, and let’s take our leave.” 

He reached to her, but she rejected him.

“I’m not going anywhere with you. I’m staying here and getting some shuteye while I can. I’d be fast asleep by now if it wasn’t for you disturbing my routine.”

“Do you mean to tell me you were planning to sleep here?” he asked with furrowed brows.

Lucy was aggravated with herself for letting her secret out, but she wasn’t going to tell him a thing. He wouldn’t understand anyway. No one ever did. 

“It’s none of your business what I plan to do, cowboy. And quit calling me sweetheart. I’m not your sweetheart. If you want to ‘take your leave,’ be my guest. Take your scathing looks and funny way of talking with youI won’t be stopping you.”

With that, she walked to the bed, threw her backpack against the wall and laid down. She fluffed the pillow, pulled it under her head and placed a tiny handgun next to it on the bed. 

It took a while for her situation to register with Tucker. Then he recalled Marissa telling him of people in the future sleeping on the streets because they had no home.

“My God, are you homeless? Tucker asked.

You win. Now, walk off somewhere so I can get some sleep.”

“If I don’t, are you planning to use that little peashooter on me?” he asked, his eyes sparkling with humor. He’d never seen such a tiny gun.

I might! It’s a real gun, by the way. It shoots real bullets. So, beware.” 

Tucker liked her tenacious spirit and couldn’t quit smiling. Of course, she was like no woman he had ever met, too.

“Take your best shot, sweetheart. But let me warn you. That little gun,wouldn’t keep me -- or anyone else, for that matter -- from getting to you if that was the intent.”

She looked up at him with hazy, tired eyes and said, ““Is it?”

“Is what?” 

“Is that your intent? Are you planning to force yourself on me?” she asked flatly.

His laughter was deep and harmonic. When he was able to speak, he said, “If that was my intention, sugar, you’d be in my lap right now. That beautiful mane of hair would be tossed in all directions and your clothes would be lying on the floor.” 

His straightforward reply made her blush. She liked his honesty. She was staring at him, trying to figure him out when the temperature of the room suddenly dropped. It meant there was a ghostly presence nearby. She hoped it wasn’t Margarita, a vengeful ghost who was killed by a prostitute named Gold Dollar. She killed her in a jealous rage when she discovered Margarita kissing her man in the middle of the saloon. 

Lucy rubbed her arms to fend off the chill. 

“You’re cold, and I feel a sudden draft in the air,” Tucker said. “Let me help warm you up.

He slid onto the bed next to her and, in one fluid motion, pulled her into his strong arms. Instead of grabbing her gun, she cuddled next to him and savored his warmth. It was nice, and she trusted him.

As she fell asleep, she imagined he would keep the ghosts away. They were here, laying in wait of her. She realized she would join them soon. Maybe not tonight, though. Not with the cowboy next to her. 


The third book is Jesse and Tucker’s younger sister MARISSA’S story to be released early in 2021. 
This cover could be changed. 



“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a dozen times, Little John, I’m going to campaign for women’s rights, and I don’t give a damn what the menfolk say.”

“I’m not asking you to quit, Marissa,” he replied. “I’m saying you need to be careful not to anger the wrong folks!”

“You mean don’t anger the wrong MEN!” 

She infuriated him. He grabbed her by the elbow and leaned into her toemphasize the importance of listening to what he had to say. Her indifference remained unchanged. So, John pulled her closer, so their faces were within inches of each other. 

That’s when she noticed his eyes change. Anger quickly disappeared, replaced by longing she hadn’t seen before. In an instant, she felt their souls unite. Then, the fury returned, and John made his point. 

“Yes, men. Bad men. Men who’d slit your throat without thinking twice,” hexplained, sliding his finger across her neck for emphasis.There are men in this town who believe voting is only a man’s right, and women should cook, clean and deliver babies. Nothing more. They’re willing to teach a woman like you exactly who wears the pants. Or they might hire other men to do their dirty work.”

His grip was tight, and his words scared her.

When Marissa began to tremble, he took her face tenderly in his giant hands and stared deep into her eyes to make sure she heard every word. Again, the anger disappeared. The pad of his right thumb caressed her bottom lip and brought her calm, as well as a tingling sensation that raced down her spine. 

She thought he might kiss her, but then his brother’s friend stepped back, cleared his throat and said, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Still furious, Marissa turned her back on him because she didn’t want him to see how his words and adoring eyes affected her. She put her foot in the stirrup and swung into the saddle atop her horse. She reined the mare defiantly north toward the Bar-C, the Clark family ranch. She prayed he didn’t follow. She needed time to mull over what just had happened. 

Little John waher older brother’s closest friend. Little John had been in her life for as long as she could remember. When Tucker was gone, he’d helped her prepare for the suffrage campaign for more than a year. Why had he chosen this day to argue about taking the campaign on the road? Why was he trying to scare her? She would expect such words from Tucker, but not John.

She had turned a deaf ear to the gossip around town. Some people were making disparaging remarks about her and her association with the suffrage movement. Marissa felt if they were talking about her, they were hearing her message. That was a good thing. She only worried about the negative sentiment. If her brothers, Ma, or Daniel heard some of them, there would be hell to pay.

Regardless, she believed the good people in town eventually would come around to her way of thinking. She realized some of the men wereriled up but didn’t believe they would do anything to hurt her, not to the extent John described. Some Tombstone men simply were afraid of change.

As she turned her attention back to John, she wasn’t sure if he wanted to turn her over his knee or take her in his huge arms. Her emotions were turbulent as she journeyed home.

There’s no way he has passionate feelings for me. He’s never even givenme the time of day

She flashed back to when she was an impressionable teen: At age thirteen, Marissa had the biggest crush on John, who always was hanging around with her big brother, Tucker. In an effort to earn his favor, she poured her soul out to him one starry summer night. She pledged her love and more

“One day I’m going to be your wife, and we’re going to have a wholeslew of kids,” she said and planted a kiss on his lips to seal the deal. 

Every time she thought about it, the shock and horror that creased his face made her smile. He absolutely didn’t see that coming from a na├»ve young girl who mistook his kindness for love. 

It broke her young heart and she fled in tears until he called her back. 

“Marissa, please stop! I’m sorry. Come back so we can talk about this. We’re friendsand you’re Tucker’s little sister. I would do nothing to hurt you. But you must understand, you’re much too young for me.

His words made her sob more.

“Oh, please. Don’t cry.”

They never discussed the incident again. Once her broken heart healed, Marissa promised herself she would never give him a chance to do it again. 

Her journey to the twenty-first century convinced her she needed a forward-thinking man, maybe one like Charles Wilcox. She met him on arescue mission to find her sister-in-law, Skylar. He was sweet and considerate. They dated casually. He took her to a few movies and dinner. He helped her feel not so out of place in a century that was so unlike the one she had been raised in.

She daydreamed about stepping back through the portal to the future tofind a partner just like her brothers. Then she scolded herself for her silliness.

What you saw in John’s eyes was sisterly love and nothing more. Quit being a silly goose! 

She was sure of it as the family ranch came into view in the distance. How she missed such a beautiful palette of colors – the red, yellow and brown of the Arizona Territory -- during the twelve months she spent in the future. She was happy to be home where she belonged. 

As she passed through the entrance of the Bar-C Ranch, she saw her Ma pop out the front door to see who approached. She lifted her hand above her eyes to block out the glare of the sun and smiled when she saw it was her daughter. 

Marissa looked behind her, and John was nowhere in sight. She hoped he wasn’t angry at her.

I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving with loved ones or close friends.  Thank you for reading and I’d love to hear from you. Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub, and LinkedIn. Take care until next month.