Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lawman Pat Garrett

 We all love the romancing of the west. However, compared to the Hollywood heroes that have portrayed Pat Garrett, he would fall far short. 

Pat Garrett has been portrayed on screen by the  likes of Patrick Wayne, James Coburn, Glenn Corbett, and later Ethan Hawke. All these men were bigger than life. Or as a westerner might say, they cast a large shadow. The REAL Patrick Floyd Jarves Garrett, was neither broad shouldered or lean at the hip. He was more Ichabod Crane-ish.  Tall and lanky, he was soft spoken, modest man and not a braggart. There is no doubt to his claim to fame. He was the man who killed Billy the Kid.

He didn't initially set out to become a lawman. Born on June 5th of 1850 in Alabama. He was the second of five children. His early childhood was spent on John Greer Plantation in Louisiana. Most likely, he would have become a farmer like his father, but the Civil War changed everyone's perspectives. Both Garrett's parents died early and the children were split up among relatives. At 18, Garrett gave into wander lust and headed west to Texas.

There, he tried his hand at farming in an area once called Lancaster just south of Dallas. When that didn't pan out, he moved to cattle punching. By 1876, he had joined a group of Buffalo Skinners partnering with Willis Skelton Glenn. It was during this stint, Garrett killed his first man, a friend named Brisco. There was a disagreement that led to heated words, which escalated to fist being thrown. When Brisco grabbed the cooks ax, Garrett drew the company pistol and shot him at point blank range. Being an honest man, Garrett rode into Fort Griffin and turned himself in for the murder. He recounted the story but the law didn't have time to go back and dig up the body or talk to witnesses.  They instead ruled self defense and let him go.

By 1874, the buffalo had all but been eradicated in Texas, so the group moved to the Territory of New Mexico and broke up. Garrett found himself alone near Fort Sumner. His height and thin frame gave rise to the nickname of Juan Largo - Long John.  Again, he tried a variety of jobs to make ends meet. He tried hog farming, being a butcher, saloon proprietor, and grocery store merchant. He made enough to persuade Juanita Martinez to become his wife. However, she took ill on their wedding night and died the next day. He would marry again in 1880 to Apolinarea Gutierrez, who bore him eight children.

Now the story of Billy the Kid....

It was in Ft. Sumner, Garrett ran across Billy. They attended town functions, drank a few drinks, played a few hands of poker. While they knew one another, neither considered the other a friend. Garrett once said of 'the Kid', "He minds his business and I mind mine." Billy was known to Garrett's wife's family but, Garrett had sense enough to keep his distance from the young outlaw. "He has nothing to fear from me as long as he does not interfere with me and my affairs." This would change in 1880 when Garrett was elected Sheriff of Lincoln County.

By the 1880's, Billy the Kid was considered the most notorious Outlaw in the New Mexico, Territory. Garrett was elected to 'clean up' the territory. Thus, Billy had interfered with Pat's affairs. Even before his election, Garrett was already lining up a posse to go after the outlaw. He searched the eastern part of the Territory through on of the harshest winters on record. Finally, finding 'The Kid' near Ft. Sumner. There, 'The Kid' and his gang were ambushed. One was killed. Billy and rest surrendered and were brought to trial. 

Because of the outcry, Garrett protected Billy from a mob which planned on a good lynching. The mob dispersed and Billy was reprimanded to the jail to await his fate. Garrett was called out of town on Tax business. While Garrett was away, Billy killed the two guards that were protecting them and broke out of jail and escaped by train. Garrett had no choice but to go after him once again.

Using sightings, Garrett found out that Billy was staying with this sweetheart's family near Ft. Sumner. Surrounding the house, Garrett caught sight of the outlaw in the bedroom of his sweetheart's brother and he shot him dead. This confrontation gave birth to the legend.

Garrett found his notoriety bitter.  He was quoted as saying, "I sometimes wish that I had misfired and that the kid had got his work in on me."

Garrett's life would be forever changed. Those that thought him a hero believed in him. Those that thought him a scoundrel despised him. He lost the next election for sheriff and moved on to the Pecos Valley. There with a group of investors, he devised a plan that would turn the Pecos Valley into a farmer's paradise. Unfortunately, being way to generous, he went bankrupt and lost his land to the group of investors. His next move was to return to Texas where he raised and raced trotters.

Racing usually involved gambling and drinking which led to more lost income. It wasn't long before Garrett was looking for work. Back in New Mexico a rancher and his son had been murdered. Garrett traveled back to 'round up' the men responsible. They were captured and brought to trial only to be acquitted by corrupt Judge. Times were changing. No one wanted Garrett's guns. His fame was too much of a burden.

He did become an El Paso Custom's Collector. However his zeal for his post led to many disliking his tactics. Eventually, gambling and drinking cost him his position. Destitute, he moved in with his son on a ranch near El Paso. Problems over cattle and goats led to a confrontation with a neighbor, Brazel. The dispute went to court. Several tried to smooth over the ruffled feathers. When a buyer for the goats was found, Brazel, the buyer, Adamson, and Garrett agreed to meet and iron out the sale.

On a back road, heading from Las Cruces, Garrett was killed. His body left by the side of the road as Brazel, Cox returned to town where Brazel walked into the sheriff's office and asked to "Locked up, for I have just killed Pat Garrett."  Brazel was acquitted on charges even though the death certificate states he killed Pat Garrett.


Next month we will be looking at William Allison said to be the most efficient sheriff in Texas.

Until, then, Happy Trails.....


Monday, February 22, 2021

Chasing Time

 Hello, and welcome all you lovelies  xoxoxo. I’m thrilled you are here with me at Cowboy Kisses!

Today I’m going to take you on a little journey from Vampires (The Hemocil Society series) to “Chasing Time” previously “Tombstone Ghost Cowboy” series. 

I’m a Pieces born March 13th of 1961. And yes, my BIG Birthday is just around the corner. No, I’m not happy about the number,  however, I’m happy to be alive.❤️ Back to the point:Pieces are known to be dreamers, our heads in the clouds and also a tidbit Pschic. It’s true, Perhaps this is why I love a good romance. I’ve read them for years, paranormal, time travel, western, historical, and modern romance as long as the story has a happy ending I’m satisfied.

A few years ago I flew to Phoenix to visit my son, Jon Kyle and his family. While I was there he started talking about Tombstone and how it was proven to have paranormal activity, which intrigued me like he knew it would. He turned on the TV and showed me some Ghost Hunter shows that were mainly about The Bird Cage Theater. So, on a whim we decided to go to Tombstone. We got on line and rented a room at a hotel close to town. It was about a four hour drive and I enjoyed the view and my family.

It was late when we arrived in Tombstone, and Elijah, my grandson was tired, but Kyle and I were too excited to go to sleep. Tyler stayed at the hotel so she could put Elijah to bed. Kyle and I drove to town and walked Allen street. I couldn’t believe I was standing in Tombstone known as “the town to tough to die.” I had watched countless movies about this historical town as a child with my father. 

Gun fight at O.K. Corral was one of the first I can remember. One of my first crushes was Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp. My Darlene Clementine is where I fell for Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stuart. There were many more, to many to name. But I have to say Tombstone with Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday, and Curt Russel as Wyatt Earp, and the incredibly sexy voiced Sam Elliot was my favorite. What’s not to like with that line-up of actors. 

After walking Allen Street we stopped at the Crystal Palace for a beer and a couple of games of pool. The bar was absolutely beautiful. Afterwards, we drove back to the hotel and made our plan for the next day. The first on our list was to tour the famous Bird Cage Theatre Museum. We wanted to spot a ghost! 

The next morning we had a wonderful homemade breakfast at the hotel before are trip to town. My mind was whirling. I planned to see, and learn, every thing I could before we had to leave later that night. On are tour through the Bid Cage we snapped endless pics hoping we would spot a ghost or two later when we hooked up to our PC. During the tour I got this peculiar feeling as I peered into the room it was said Wyatt Earp and Josephine had stayed in. At first it was just a room cluttered with old paraphernalia and a beautiful wood framed bed, but I blinked and then I spotted the sexy cowboy on the bed! It was as if he had just appeared there in the blink of an eye. And that’s where my story began spinning in my head. I couldn’t wait to start writing it down. 

My Vampires sat on a shelf since then lurking in the background waiting for me to return. There’s two more Mantango brothers whose stories need to be written, but they can wait for eternity. Time does not matter to them.

Tombstone Ghost Cowboy was the easiest book I had written to date. The words just spilled out of my characters. The Clark family became my family and I loved them all dearly. Kate was the mom to three grown children. Her husband John had died ten years before. His best friend Daniel became the Forman of the ranch and a confidant to Kate. He helped raise the children as if they were his own. 

Tucker is the oldest and he’s a Tombstone Marshal who’s always believed in the supernatural because of the stories his father had told him around the campfire late at night. When there was evidence that the story’s were true he planned his journey for the following year when the portal would open again. 

Then there’s Jesse a cattle rancher, gambler and some call him a womanizer. His heart was broken by Claire a woman who planned to have him killed after their wedding day. She wanted his money not his love. After that he had sworn off all proper women preferring the ladies of the night in the red district or at the Bird Cage instead. At least he knew his money is all they were after from the start. Then one night a beauty with long dark hair and mesmerizing eyes materialized into his rented room at the brothel. He was as shocked as she appeared to be.

Mariah is the youngest. She’s a handful, Spoiled, stubborn, smart and beautiful. Problem is she sticks her nose in her brothers business more then they would like. After traveling into the future she learned women won their rights in 1920. She went on the campaign road as soon as she returned home. She wanted her right to vote now not when she was old. Tucker’s best friend Little John helped Mariah with the campaign because he had promised Tucker he would while he was in the 21st century. His motives were his secret and nobody else’s business as far as he was concerned. 

I loved this series, but even after all the hard work and endless hours of writing them I knew they could be even better with the right help. My friend who is also an author told me about this man who had re-edited some of her books and gave me his name and email address. She was correct and Gerald L. Guy didn’t disappoint. The man is a miracle worker and I am so grateful to be working with him. He gave my Tombstone Ghost Cowboy series a second chance. I love the new name Chasing Time and the new covers. 

Below are some random pics of my old covers and new ones. There’s also a couple of old ads and some Tombstone pics. The Tombstone Ghost Cowboy series was in the first tense the Chasing Time series is not.

I hope you enjoyed my blog. See you next month!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021


By Andrea Downing



Most of the authors here at Cowboy Kisses write historical western romance, and at some point in their stories, a Colt .45 or a Colt Peacemaker or some other Colt gun is sure to make an appearance.  But I wonder how many of us know the story of the man behind those guns:  Samuel Colt.

Samuel Colt by Matthew Brady, 1857

     Born in 1814, Colt seems to have had an early interest in blowing up things.  It was after a show of pyrotechnics at his boarding school, and a subsequent fire, that he was sent off to be a seaman and go to London and Calcutta. While on board, he noted that the ship’s wheel could either turn or be locked into position by employing a ratchet or clutch mechanism.  He duly carved from scrap wood a similar mechanism for a gun, which could hold 5 or 6 bullets in a rotating cylinder. Back in the states in 1832, his father financed the production of both a rifle and a hand gun, but when the former exploded on being fired, these early demonstrations went no further.

Since he had learned about nitrous oxide (laughing gas) in his father’s textile plant, Colt decided to present himself as Dr. Coult in demonstrations across the US. Entertaining crowds in fairground presentations and other shows, he made enough money to start his first firearms business. Only 21 when he received his first Patent, the Colt Patent Arms Manufacturing Company opened in Paterson, NJ. Sales were low with most in TX and FL (for use in war with the Seminoles). The business floundered and closed in 1842 leaving Colt in debt. But without Colt knowing it, down in TX his 5-shot gun was finding favor.

Part of Colt's Patent application, courtesy of The Gutenberg Project

Famed Captain of the Texas Rangers, Samuel Walker, wrote to Colt to tell him how the Rangers were partial to his firearm. When the Rangers were joined by the US Army to fight the Mexican American War in 1846, the fame of the gun spread.  It was then Walker worked with Colt to develop an improved .44, and President Taylor ordered one thousand for his army. 

Colt was back in business. He built a factory in Hartford, Conn., his hometown, along the Connecticut River. This was subsequently enlarged in 1855 to include games rooms, washing stations, parks, orchards, a railroad depot, a beer garden, and tenement housing for his employees. He was one of the first to use assembly line production with the employees working ten hours daily. In this way, he was able to produce some 150 guns a day. Colt also manufactured the Gatling gun, underwater detonators, and in a deal with Samuel Morse, underwater telegraph cable. In addition, in 1853, he opened a plant in London although after only four years it closed; the guns did not prove popular with the British Army or Navy., CT

The Colt Mansion, 80 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford, CT

Prior to the Civil War, Colt supplied guns to both sides, which did not sit well with the Union.  Despite this, he was made a Lt. Col. in 1861 and formed the 1st Regiment Colt’s Revolving Rifles.  They never saw action.

A marketing genius, Colt employed George Catlin, the famed painter of Native Americans, to portray the guns in a dozen paintings. Colt also made gifts of his weapons in signed presentation boxes to numerous heads of state, traveling to present the gilded and engraved pistols. Colt even trademarked his signature. And, of course, he had the slogan “God created men; Col. Colt made them equal.”

Colt’s private life was somewhat less smooth-sailing.  He purportedly had a marriage in Scotland in 1838 to one Caroline Henshaw. Henshaw was left pregnant and later married Colt’s brother, John, in 1841 to legitimize the child she bore.  John, however, was convicted of murder in 1842 and sentenced to hang.  He took his own life prior. Colt recognized the child,  Samuel Caldwell Colt, in his Will.  Colt and his wife, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, had one son, Caldwell Hart Colt; three other children passed at birth or before age four.

Elizaabeth and Caldwell Colt, 1865

Samuel Colt died from complications from gout in 1862. He left an estate of $15M—some $387M at today’s value. The estate passed to his wife with her brother, Richard Jarvis, handling the business side of the company.

The Single Action Army Handgun was not produced until some ten years after Colt’s death.  Samuel Colt never held the Peacemaker—the Colt .45.


A Colt was one of the guns my hero, Shiloh Coltrane, carries on his search for the murderers of his sister and her son in Shot Through the Heart.

Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family's Wyoming ranch, only to find there's still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large.
Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind.
When the two meet, it's an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what's right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?


Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54751926-shot-through-the-heart


BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/shot-through-the-heart-by-andrea-downing

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shot-through-the-heart-andrea-downing/1137387142?ean=9781509232345

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shot-through-the-heart-18



Sydney watched as he rolled out his bedroll where the table had been, now pushed aside. “I’ll get you some fresh water,” she said as she made a move toward the door.

“No. You don’t know who might be lurking out there, who might’ve snuck up. I’ll go.”

Frustrated, she stamped her foot. “You are sooo annoying! You won’t be here tomorrow night, or the night after. I look after myself, Mr. Coltrane! I—”

“I thought we were using first names now.” His hands found his hips and he had that funny smile once more.

She pursed her lips, trying to hold in her anger. “It doesn’t matter what I call you! You are still the most infuriating man I’ve ever met.”

“Met many, then?” He had one brow up and a smirk now.

“I’m a doctor. Of course I’ve ‘met’ many.”

“Dead or alive?”

“Very funny.” She grabbed the dishcloth and flicked it before spreading it out on the handle of the range. “Good night!”

“Good night, Sydney,” he said mildly as she headed for her bedroom and slammed the door.

In the dark, she lay as she did many nights, the moon glowing through her window, a shadow cast of the cross panes, her thoughts simmering in her brain. He had asked why she had become a doctor and her answer had not been the complete truth. She recalled now a dinner party her parents had given when she was sixteen, new acquaintances her father had met at his bank, a professor and his wife. Sydney had formed an instant attachment to them, held the woman in high esteem, admired her greatly for being a doctor, having a profession. And the husband! It had been love at first sight, or what she considered love at her tender age, a ‘crush,’ infatuation of the deepest variety. Not only had he been kind, handsome, and good-natured, unlike the example her own father had set, but he was learned and interesting, fascinating even. She would have walked over freshly fired nails had he asked her. The example they had set stayed with her. She would emulate them, walk the same path as they.

From the front room came the sound of the board creaking as Shiloh turned in his sleep. A very different man from Professor Willis. A man who took things into his own hands, a man of doing, of action rather than study, complacency and thought. There was something here that attracted her as well. There was kindness in Coltrane, but kindness of a different sort, and where the professor had been handsome with his goatee, dark eyes, and studious, respectable demeanor, Shiloh Coltrane had a sort of rough and ready beauty to him, the unkempt appearance and bearing of someone who worked hard to get what he wanted. That, too, was very appealing.

Her loneliness grew on her, was amplified with the knowledge there was a man in the next room whose soft, even breathing she imagined she could hear. Other things she could imagine, too. Sleeping in his arms, his hard body wrapped around her, their legs entwined, the intimacy of shared jokes, little whispers through the soft night. And if she went through that door? If she lay down next to him?

If she could just have the peace of companionship for one night?

Her bed moaned slightly as she shifted her weight to touch her bare feet to the floor, her light nightdress falling about her. Cat-like, she tiptoed and clasped the doorknob, stopped in her tracks, wondered if she knew what she was doing, and why she was doing it? Just a peek, she told herself. Just a glance to let her imagination know better. A kind of yearning and curiosity rolled into one.

Giving in to her own inability to sleep unless she just had this one glimpse of him, she turned the knob and slipped into the front room. The profile of Shiloh bundled in his bedroll, lit by the moon, greeted her. She advanced with care, afraid to wake him, and then heard the metallic clunk as his gun hit the floor. She stood and stared down at him: his hands cradled his head, elbows akimbo, the thin smile upon his lips.

And then he reached out his hand, his palm open, and she let the long fingers wrap around her wrist and guide her down.




Tuesday, February 16, 2021

MARRIAGE BY PROXY - Not Just a Romance Novel Marriage of Convenience Device By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

 As an avid reader, I loved Marriage of Convenience stories even before I knew MOC was a trope.  These days, the popular story line continues to strike a chord with readers because these weddings still happen for any number of reasons. 

Started in Europe in the Middle Ages, Proxy Marriages also continue to take place today.  The Proxy Marriage is a wedding where one or both individuals are not physically present, with the absent bride or groom represented by someone else.  Generations ago, this ceremony provided protection for any bride traveling some distance to meet her new husband, for their marriage was already a done deal.  The groom couldn’t meet her face-to-face and change his mind or send her back. 

Proxy Weddings enjoyed a resurgence during the First and Second World Wars, offering a soldier serving overseas the opportunity to marry his sweetheart back home.  Currently, a handful of states still honor proxy marriages formed within their boundaries.

I’ve written a number of mail-order bride books, so it was an interesting stretch to come up with a plot for a Proxy Bride story.  I’m excited to share A BRIDE FOR SHANE with my readers.  Watch for it in May as part of the popular Proxy Brides Series.


Her brother’s bad-boy best friend needs a wife!

American heiress and champion horse breeder, Lacey has always been in love with her brother’s rough-and-tumble, bad boy best friend.  She doesn’t care if Shane is a pauper and a convicted thief, so when she learns he is sentenced to death, his only reprieve hinging on a proxy marriage, she doesn’t hesitate to sign the papers, ship her horses, and head West.   

Proud and fiercely independent, Shane hates being beholden to anyone almost as much as he hated being in prison.  Years ago, his best friend’s twin sister threw herself at him, a temptation that drove him West to seek his fortune.  Now it seems someone wants to take that fortune away from him.  Why else was he tried and found guilty for a crime he didn’t commit? 

Aware he owes Lacey his life, Shane guards his secrets, determined to find out who framed him so he can prove his innocence and annul the marriage.  Then a dead body shows up on their ranch, making it obvious that Shane’s goals clash with whoever wants him out of the picture permanently. 

Lacey has no intention of accepting an annulment, and schemes to make their marriage binding in every way.  A move Shane finds impossible to resist, even though it means putting them both in harm’s way, and possibly landing him back in jail.  Lacey’s move to solidify their union pits the couple against the villain and reveals the secret Shane is hiding.  Why has he deceived her?  What else is he keeping from her?  And how will it affect their future?

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Monday, February 15, 2021

The excitement of starting a new series by Paty Jager

Having always had a creative mind, I'm not sure if everyone gets excited when they come up with something that they think will be fun and challenging to make or do. However, I swear, little skyrockets go off in my head when I get excited about a project. 

That's the way it was when I wrote a short story for an anthology contest (it didn't get picked) and after I'd formulated my main character, I knew she would have to have her own series. The skyrockets went off and I started writing down everything I knew about her and what I didn't know. Where she would live and work. How she looked, her temperament, what made her the way she is.  

And before I knew it, I had secondary characters popping into my head. I saw where she worked. That was fun spending half a day sketching the Indian owned casino where she works. I made it fictional, but in a setting where there is an Indian Casino and Reservation. I'm using the real reservation. I hope I can make this book as authentic as possible without offending anyone. 

There is that downside, but I feel confident this series will be as well liked and hopefully bring more of the Native American culture to people who don't really understand it. Just with talking to one woman who has been helping me with a Gabriel Hawke novel which introduces my new character, I have learned a few things that are stereotypes and hope to enlighten more non-Natives while entertaining them with a good mystery.

Starting a new series comes with lots of fun things to consider. I've named the series The Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries. My cover designer and I have been working on a logo for the series and how I want the covers to look like. Since the series is about a casino I've decided the titles will have gambling titles.  I've already figured out the first three books- titles and premise for the stories. The titles are: Poker Face, House Edge, Double-down.  

Let's see, I have my character, some of the secondary characters, the setting, the vibe, the series title, book titles, oh! Since in my other mysteries the main characters have pets, I decided the other day that in the first book, my character will find an injured dog, and it will have to have a leg amputated. Because my character is an amputee, she decides to adopt the dog. I've been going through dog breeds and trying to decide what breeds her mutt might be mixed with. I haven't decided what size yet. I tend to like large dogs, but at the same time, I could see her relaxing with a small fluffy dog on her lap. But she's an outdoors kind of gal, so she would need a dog that would go on hikes and jog with her. So who knows, maybe down the road she'll adopt a lapdog or a cat. 

As a reader have you every wondered how an author comes up with new books or series? As an author, do you do this much before hand information or do you just come up with a character or a story and go for it? 

The first book in The Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries will be out in June. In May, my character Dela Alvaro will be in the Gabriel Hawke Novel, Stolen Butterfly. 


Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 49 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. This is what Books a Plenty Book Reviews has to say about the Gabriel Hawke series: "The blend of nature tracking, clues, and the animals makes for a fascinating mystery that is hard to put down."

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Friday, February 12, 2021

The Wild Woman Sculptor of European Elite & Texas Heroes

Sculpting Austin and Houston in Texas

By Jacqui Nelson

Life can take us down many paths. How does a German stone carver's daughter go from sculpting the European elite to sculpting Texas heroes? First came tenacity, then talent, then tuberculosis. 

Around the turn of the 19th century, the tuberculosis death rate worldwide was estimated at 7 million people a year, so tuberculosis definitely could be a life-changer. Even though Elisabet Ney never had tuberculosis, it resulted in her leaving her birthplace of Germany and eventually living in Texas sculpting Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. 

Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Ney
born 1833 in M√ľnster, Germany ) 

Elisbet Ney

Elisabet (the spelling without the "h" seems to be the name most often used when referring to her by one name) grew up assisting her father in his stone-carving business. When her parents later opposed her becoming a sculptor, she went on a hunger strike. That's tenacity. 

Statue of King Ludwig II of Bavaria
King Ludwig II
In 1852, Elisabet became the first female sculpture student at the Munich Academy of Art under professor Max von Widnmann. 

In 1857, she set up her own studio in Berlin and sculpted portraits of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, composer Richard Wagner, folklorist Jacob Grimm, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, General Giuseppe Garibaldi, King George V of Hanover, and King Ludwig II of Bavaria. That seems like a dual talent: getting the job done and pleasing those elite figures.  

In 1853, Elisabet met Edmund Montgomery, a Scottish medical student, scientist, and philosopher. They kept in touch and, although she viewed the institution of marriage as a state of bondage for women, she married Edmund in 1863. 

Marriage did not change Elisabet's views on the role of women. She refused to take her husband's name, chose to wear trousers and a black artist frock coat, and rode horses astride. 

What changed Elisabet—at least as far as where she went next—was tuberculosis. The same year that she was married, her husband was diagnosed with the deadly disease. 

In 1871, Elisabet and Edmund immigrated to the United States to join a colony in Georgia that was promoted as a healing resort for those afflicted with tuberculosis. When that didn't work out, they searched for a new home. Elisabet traveled alone to Texas to see the Liendo Plantation in Waller County. When her husband was finally able to join her, they purchased the plantation. 

For the next ten years, Elisabet concentrated on running the plantation and raising a son while her husband focused on his research. Only in the early 1880s, did Elisabet restart her artistic career—after being invited to Austin by Governor Oran M. Roberts.

In 1891, the Chicago World's Fair Association's Board of Lady Managers commissioned Elisabet to create life-size marble figures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin for the Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition World's Fair. 

Austin & Houston sculptures
Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston

Despite the supplement of $32,000 from the Texas state legislature, Elisabet missed her deadline and the Houston and Austin sculptures couldn't be shown at the Exhibition. They can now be seen in the Texas State Capitol in Austin and in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Elisabet kept sculpting and died in her Texas studio in 1907. 

Elisabet Ney in her Texas studio
Elisabet Ney traveled far and immersed herself in several careers, but she always came back to sculpting. Writing, I think, is like sculpting or painting or any creative endeavor. People start with a blank page or block of stone and shape something (after heading down a creative path) that other people will hopefully connect with. 

If you'd like to see where my creative endeavors have taken me, head to MY BOOK PAGE on my website where you'll find links to read excerpts from (and view picture inspiration boards for) all of my stories. 

~ * ~

Jacqui's author photo
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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

ROSITA - "Little Rose' of Colorado

 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

The area near the Wet Mountain Valley
Photo property of the author

There is a 'ghost' town in the Wet Mountain Valley known as Rosita. While there is not much left of the town now, in the early days of the Valley it was The Rose. 

Author Helen (Hunt) Jackson wrote of this town in her book "Nelly's Silver Mine". Jackson, who had moved to Colorado in 1873 had visited the area and used that knowledge in her description of the area. Below is the description Jackson wrote of March families arrival in the area:

You go down a steep hill, just as you come into the town of Rosita. On the top of this hill, Mr. March called out to his wife to stop. She was driving box and pumpkinseed; and he was following behind with the mules. He jumped out, and came up to the side of her wagon.

"There, Sarah!" He said, "did you ever see anything in your life so beautiful as this?"

Mrs. March did not speak; both she and Nelly and even Rob were struck down by the beauty of the picture. They looked right down into the little village. It was cuddled in the ravine as if it had gone to sleep there. The sides of the hills were dotted with pine trees; and most of the little houses were built of bright yellow pine boards: they showed in the sun. Just beyond the village they could see a bit of the most beautiful Green Valley; and, beyond that, great high mountains, half covered with snow.

Photo from Amazon

The town was the county seat from 1878 to 1886. The area originally was ranchland, but with the discovery of silver, the town grew to a population of around 1500 in 1878. According to some accounts, the town had numerous hotels, a saloon, a weekly newspaper, a cheese factory, and a brewery.

As the silver mines in the area declined so did the town. The 1958 movie "Saddle the Wind" with Robert Taylor, Julie London, and John Cassavetes, plus screenplay by Rod Sterling was partially filmed in Rosita.

If you ever visit the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley in Colorado be sure to stop by the townsite of Rosita. Who knows, you may hear the music and voices of the people who inhabited the area all those years ago.

IMDb movie information

Western Mining History link

The Wet Mountain Valley and Rosita are the inspiration for my current WIP as yet to be titled. Here is a sneak peek:

"You fool, Drake, you had no more to do with that fire, than the moon in the sky," Pauline mumbled. Reliving last night, her hands begin to shake, the cup she was holding fell to the floor, shattering. What if whoever had started the fire tried again? What would she do without Drake's strength to lean on?

Standing straighter, Pauline looked out the window, saying, as if to the world,"I will not be driven away."

When her husband had died, she’d been shunned as she continued to pursue her dreams of being a doctor. There were even some in town who said she’d killed Thomas for his money to pay for her unnatural dream. When Caleb had come home crying about what the children said as they repeated the words their parents wee saying, she packed up and moved. Now, she’d found a place where Caleb could grow and learn. She was determined to stay.

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

Sunday, February 7, 2021



Yes, there is a Valentine, TX. There’s also a Cut-N-Shoot, a Dime Box, a Loco, and a Ding Dong. I’ve been to all of these Texas towns except for Loco. I’ll have to check it out soon. I visited Valentine a few years ago on a trip to Big Bend National Park, which is located in West Texas on the border with Mexico. A stark, beautiful place. I went in the spring and the succulents in the desert looked like a professionally landscaped garden.

The reason for my visit was to immerse myself in the area in preparation for writing IF I CAN DREAM, one of the Hell Yeah books starring Tennessee McCoy and Molly Reyes. I absorbed the atmosphere of the Rio Grande River, the Chisos Mountains, a forest of wind turbines, and the old west flavor of the ranches and small towns.

One of those towns was Valentine. Just a spot in the road and a population of 134, I felt at home there. The place I grew up in East Texas was about the same size. While our school consolidated with one in another small town, my graduating class numbered only 35. Valentine has the claim to fame of having the smallest school in the state, usually around 40 students in K-12.
That’s not the only thing small about Valentine. There is no grocery store, no gas station, no ATM – and no crime. If you want to buy a Coke, you have to get it from the vending machine at the high school. Yet, the tiny West Texas town does have some claims to fame. One of those things was a famous artist – Boyd Elder. He always like to say he was the most famous artist you never heard of. In addition to painted bull and buffalo skulls, he designed the iconic covers for several Eagle’s albums – probably the most memorable one was for ONE OF THESE NIGHTS, a bull skull with lightning bolts. He also was the caretaker for a very unusual piece of art located right outside of Valentine – called Prada Marfa.      

Prada Marfa is a land art project of a life size Prada store filled with Prada products. The door doesn’t open and the meaning behind it is debatable, some cultural statement concerning excess and relativity, I suspect. The original intent of the artists, Elmgreen and Dragset, was to let the structure naturally deteriorate, but the area residents were concerned it could become a hazard. Elder was elected to maintain the piece. He passed away in 2018, I’m not sure who is taking care of it now. I remember the first time I saw it, I was not aware it was art, I thought it was the real deal. I remember stopping and wondering why it was closed – not that I could’ve afforded anything in the store, but I wanted to check it out regardless.

Valentine’s other claim to fame is the Post Office, or the service the Post Office provides. Like Christmas, Florida, Noel, Missouri, North Pole, New York, and Santa Claus, Indiana – Valentine is famous for people sending cards to the postmaster to be mailed out with the Valentine, TX postmark. Every year, a new love logo is designed by the winner of a high school contest and it is annually stamped onto some twelve thousand letters sent to lucky and well-loved recipients.

To commemorate the celebration, a West Texas brewing company called Big Bend Brewing puts on a party and serves a special concoction called TOTAL COMMITMENT – very appropriate.

For a bit of history, the town was given the name of Valentine because of the date of its founding in 1882 and also to commemorate one of the crew’s bosses, whose last name was Valentine. For years, nothing much exciting happened until in 1931 the town was hit by the largest earthquake ever recorded in Texas – a 5.8 on the Richter scale. It mysteriously transported fish into deep wells and rotated tombstones in the cemetery. Very strange.

All in all, my trip to Big Bend was amazing. Not only did I traverse through the desert, wade in the border river with another country – I also visited the Marfa Ghost lights…and experienced an event that confirmed I’m a bit nuts.

Let me make this quick – I bought a new BMW before I left for my mini, research vacation. Of course, in my defense, I didn’t take time to learn all the ins and outs of the vehicle. As I was driving through the backroads of the National Park, every time I got out to take a photo, I could hear this siren sounding in the distance. Sounded like one of those air raid sirens I’ve heard in WWII movies set in London. Dumb me, I imagined they had something to do with folks crossing the border from Mexico into Texas. After all, I spotted several checkpoints along the way. For some reason, they never looked at me and my two wiener dogs with suspicion. And there I was with that big BMW trunk, I could have been smuggling an Antonio Banderas lookalike to take home for romantic inspiration.

BUT…it wasn’t an immigration siren.

Finally, after I’d noticed I heard it everywhere I went, no matter the location, it finally dawned on me that it was a sound the BMW made when I got up out of the driver’s seat and the steering wheel moved automatically into the original position - - making a faint siren sound. Isn’t that crazy? No wonder, I’m an author. My imagination is vast, and I just make shit up. Ha!

One of my best memories while I was in the Big Bend area…other than seeing the Marfa Lights – amazing…was running into this sweet guy as I was checking out at the General Store in Valentine. I wanted to meet him because he could have been one of my McCoys. We got to talking while we were waiting  in line. I admired his belt buckle - - it was a Rodeo Champion buckle - - those always catch my eye. He told me he worked at one of the local ranches and I swooned a bit. Anyway, he asked me if I knew about the Valentine service the post office provided and I told him yes. He said he’d once used it to send his girl a Valentine. After I told him I was a romance author, he did his best to inform me of other places to go and things of interest to see. He wanted to know if I’d been to that Prada Marfa store and I told him I’d seen it but didn’t know what it was at first. The sweet guy confessed that he was local and hadn’t known what it was either. He’d actually went there to buy his girlfriend a gift, then figured out it was not a real store. Laughing, he admitted he thought it was always deserted because there weren’t many customers due to the lack of a demand for Prada purses and shoes in Valentine, TX. I think he was probably right. I asked him what he ended up with as a gift, since there’s no florist, liquor store, or even a Walmart for over fifty miles. After pulling out his wallet, he showed me his pretty girlfriend – now his wife – holding a newborn calf. Her name was Matilda, the heifer I mean, and he’d adopted her for his wife when she was orphaned. He patted the photo and said he still remembered bottle feeding her. He was excited to tell me that Matilda was now a mother twice over – and so was his wife, Laura. I’m not really sure who he was most fond of, to tell you the truth. Nevertheless, there are some good men left in the world and this cowboy was one of them.

So, if you ever go out toward El Paso, stop in at Valentine. And if you don’t want to make the drive, mail your valentine to… Valentine Post Office, 311 California Ave, Valentine TX  78954.

Giving your Valentine a Valentine from Valentine – you can’t get more romantic than that.

If you’re in the mood for a Valentine read – check out my HOT AND SPICY VALENTINE. For those of you who have been patiently waiting for the rest of Seth and Riley’s story, check out how I set them up in THE STORM YOU CHASE. Soon, I’ll get started on a book for their own happy ever after.


Happy Valentine!

Love, Sable Hunter