Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Living History

 Living History 

Post by Lynn Landes


I wish someone could have made history come to life for in middle school as I slept through class. My history teacher Mrs. Snyder couldn’t, not even when she threw the eraser at me to wake me up in class! Funny, yet true. 

Now, as a mother of three, I have been introduced to antiquing by my kids. Who knew? While my husband looks at vintage tools, my son is fascinated with vintage records, and anything weapon related, (he’s sixteen) my daughter is drawn to books, and vintage furniture, the one thing we all have in common is vintage letters, or newspapers. 

It started by accident when I found a copy of a newspaper, “Harper’s Weekly,” from 1866. I carried it home and sat at the table and carefully opened the yellowed, fragile paper and began reading. Soon, my twenty-three-year-old who was visiting, sat down, then his girlfriend, next my younger son, and my daughter!



History came to life for us as we read the passionate political speeches and looked at the incredible pictures. The language was lyrical and beautiful, mesmerizing to read, and as my son said, “Listen to this mom,” and read one article out loud, I was struck by the moment of multiple generations sitting together. 

I’m hooked. Every time we go antiquing, they are all searching for newspapers or ribbon wrapped letters from the past. It’s amazing and makes my heart happy.

To think what it took to print at this time period blows my mind. Not just the articles but the incredible printed images. This paper gave credit in the back to the young artist who engraved one image into a block of wood, which was then used to create the print. 

As an author it paints for me images of the past that are real. From clothing advertisements, to medicine, to job advertisements and menus at local restaurants. It’s amazing! I love that I have living facts, to help me paint a more realistic picture of how people were living in that moment of history. If only Mrs. Snyder, my history teacher, had known. 

 The last page had a column titled, “Home and Foreign Gossip.” This is the inspiration for my next book. I was inspired to write it after realizing the power these weekly papers held. It was the social media for the past! If it was printed, people believed it! Crazy to see that hasn’t changed much. 

What happens when a young lady’s life is turned upside down by the power of the printed word?  My new novel will explore the power of gossip and how it can impact loved ones, businesses, even ones standing in the community or church. 


Lynn Landes
BESTSELLING AUTHOR - Illumination Award Winner 
Check out Lynn's many titles at:


Post (c) Lynn Landes All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Lt. Col. Royall and the Battle of the Rosebud by Zina Abbott

         I’m pleased to announce that today is release day for my latest romance novel, A Bride for Quentin. Since I am on the road this week, for today’s post, I will share with you some of my author’s notes for this book.

         I realize many romance readers do not like to spend a lot of time reading scenes from history. They would rather get straight to the huggy-kissy stuff. However, I like a little conflict and action in my stories.

         As for the Battle of the Rosebud Creek, I began my research as part of developing backstory for Quentin Thompson, my hero in this book. Those who have read some of my later Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs books will recognize him as the telegraph operator who works at the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad depot in Jubilee Springs.

         I always tried to portray Quentin as an intelligent, capable person in his early thirties. So, why would someone like him end up in a job like telegraph operator which, although a valuable skill and service, was sort of dead-end? Why should he choose to live in a remote mining town where men greatly outnumbered women instead of trying for a job in a larger city like Denver? I chose for him a U.S. Army career, but needed to find a reason compelling enough for him to end his career and become a telegraph operator.

         The Battle of the Rosebud Creek was part of the Yellowstone and Little Big Horn campaign—the same one where, in a battle less than two weeks later, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, several members of his family, and his entire command perished.

1868 Fort Laramie Treaty

          What started the whole mess was the decision of the United States government to change the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty in which the Lakota Sioux won major concessions from the United States in the form of a large reservation which included the Black Hills in the Dakota Territory plus
Sitting Bull
a large area of "unceded territory" in what became Montana and Wyoming. Both areas were for the exclusive use of the Indians. Except for government officials, whites were forbidden to trespass. All remained well and good until, in 1874, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills was confirmed by Lt. Col. Custer and his expedition. At that point, the U.S. attempted to buy the Black Hills from the Indians.

To accomplish this, the U.S. ordered all bands of Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne to come to the agencies on their reservations by January 31, 1876 to negotiate the sale. A few bands did not comply. After the deadline of January 31 passed, the government sent the Army to force Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and other chiefs to bring their followers onto the reservation. The first military expedition against those bands of Natives took place in March 1876. Known as the Battle of Powder River, it ended in failure.

         The next expedition designed to get these tribal people onto their reservations was the Little Bighorn and Yellowstone campaign. It was a three column plan with one column under Col. John Gibbon, who led a force coming from the west, and the other under Gen. Alfred Terry, who came from the east. The third column was Gen. Crook’s forces coming north from Fort Fetterman.

Three columns of the Little Bighorn Yellowstone Campaign

          My husband and I visited the Little Big Horn Battle site, and I spent considerable time (and more money than my husband was happy about) in the bookstore. There were scads of books about the Little Big Horn battle itself and about Custer, his family, and some of the men with him—some who were with Major Reno or Captain Benteen. I do not recall seeing many books about the Rosebud battle.

General Crook
          In my more recent online research, I learned that many contemporaries of both Lt. Col. Custer and General Crook thought, of the two men, Gen. Crook was the better Indian fighter. For one thing, he made a point to know the different tribes and enlisted the aid of those tribes who considered the tribe(s) Gen. Crook was tasked with subduing as their enemies. However, it is also a widely held opinion that the Battle of the Rosebud Creek was not an example of Gen. Crook at his best. Many of are the opinion that, if after the end of this battle, Gen. Crook had continued north, he might have arrived at the Little Bighorn River in time to have made a difference and possibly saved Lt. Col. Custer and his men.

         However, others point out that there were reasons Gen. Crook set up a position not far from the Rosebud battlefield--about sixty miles from the Little Bighorn--and rested his command for several days. He had a large number of wounded, many of whom were not well enough to be moved right away. He did not have enough wagons to transport his wounded back to Fort Fetterman from which his command departed weeks earlier. His supplies and ammunition were too low to continue an extended campaign.

         What grabbed my attention was the reason there were as many deaths and injuries from the Battle of the Rosebud Creek. It came down to a decision made by Gen. Crook’s second in command, Lt. Col. William Royall.

Lt. Col. William Royall

         William Royall had fought in the Mexican-American War and was a Civil War veteran. Assigned as an officer of the 5th Cavalry for over thirty years, he was assigned as commander of Fort Dodge in December 1875. Shortly afterward, he was transferred to the 3rd Cavalry and received his promotion to lieutenant colonel. He was transferred to the Department of the Platte .administered out of Sidney, Nebraska.  From January to March 1876, he was detailed to serve on a board established by the War Department to determine the best way to distribute supplies to the west.

         While in the midst of those duties, Gen. Crook specifically applied for Lt. Col. Royall to command the cavalry during the upcoming campaign against the Sioux in the summer of 1876. The commander to that point, Colonel John J. Reynolds, was in the process of court martial regarding actions taken the previous January. Rather than fight the court martial, Reynolds chose to resign.

         Lt. Col. Royall returned to the department, and spent April and May purchasing horses for the campaign.

         A battalion of the 2nd Cavalry was added to his command once the expedition was under way, which put him in command of fourteen companies of cavalry. Royall had command of these companies during the battle of the Rosebud on June 17, 1876. He took personal command of several companies during the fight.

         Although on the way to join up with two other columns that were part of the Little Bighorn and Yellowstone campaign, Gen. Crook and his troops were attacked by a superior force of Northern Cheyenne and Sioux and some allies. They barely had time to position themselves on two ridges to the north and west of Rosebud Creek.

Battles of Rosebud and Little Bighorn

          Rosebud Creek runs from west to east for a short distance before it bends and flows north to flow into the Yellowstone River. Not far from the bend of the backward “L” of this creek there are two roughly parallel ridges running from northwest to southeast. Between these two ridges ranging between one mile to a half-mile apart is a valley with Kollmar Creek running through it.

         Gen. Crook, his mounted infantry, Crow and Shoshoni allies, supply wagons and pack mules, trappers, and other non-combatants positioned themselves on the northern ridge. Lt. Col. Royall directed his command to take position on the southern ridge. During this battle that took place on June 17, 1876, he took personal command of several companies during the fight.

Believed to be the only photo of Crazy Horse

Some apologists state Lt. Col. Royall “…made an independent attack without informing General Crook, which caused some difficulties in managing the battle.”

         Others claim that Gen. Crook, seeing that Royall’s position was in danger of being overwhelmed by larger fighting force, ordered Royall to abandon the ridge on which he established his position and withdraw to “Crook Ridge.”

         Royall sent only one company to join Gen. Crook. He later claimed he was too hotly engaged with the enemy to withdraw. However, as the battle progressed, Royall’s position grew increasingly worse. He was forced to withdraw. He tried to get his men across Kollmar Creek, but enemy fire was too heavy to allow it. He next tried to lead his command southeast along the ridge line.

         A large group of Sioux and Cheyenne broke off from engaging Gen. Crook’s men and charged down Kollmar Creek until it joined Rosebud Creek to cut off Lt. Col. Royall’s retreat.

Chief Plenty Coups-Crow

         What saved the cavalry from receiving even more casualties than they did was the bold attack by the Crow and Shoshoni against the Northern Cheyenne and Sioux, driving the latter back.

         Although, at one point, they were surrounded on three sides by enemy, as the cavalry approached Gen. Crook’s position, the infantry, armed with rifles with a longer range engaged the enemy, which allowed many cavalrymen to make it to the ridge.

         Based on the information I’ve found so far, I concluded the “independent attack without informing General Crook, which caused some difficulties in managing the battle” amounted to Lt. Co. Royall disobeying a direct order from his commanding officer. The result was that his men suffered a greater number of casualties—both deaths and injuries—than other units involved in this battle. That is how I wrote it in the scene with my purely fictional character, First Lieutenant Quentin Thompson.

Battle of the Rosebud - end of battle

          After the expedition disbanded in Nebraska in October, Lt. Col. Royall was appointed to the position of acting assistant inspector general for the Department of the Platte until September 1882.

Image on Crazy Horse Find-a grave

         The campaign to engage the Northern Cheyenne and the Sioux in order to force them onto their reservations continued until November with engagements that became known as “The Horsemeat March” and the “Dull Knife Battle”. The tribes were forced to their reservations, and new terms imposed to the detriment of the Native people.

         In my story, I cite what happened at the Battle of the Rosebud Creek plus the ongoing treatment of the Native American tribes as the reason Quentin eventually resigns.


A Bride for Quentin is now available. To find the book description and purchase link, please CLICK HERE.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Fiction can Impart Fact by Paty Jager

Agency house on Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation

I have always been an advocate for unjust things. When I see an injustice, I have a need to help in some way no matter how small.

When I first saw a post on Facebook about missing and murdered Indigenous women my heart cracked for the women and children who suffered and their families who never had answers. Before I started writing my Gabriel Hawke series, I subscribed to the CUJ (Confederated Umatilla Journal) the newspaper written and put out by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. I wanted to know more about the area where I had imagined my character growing up and where his mother still lived. It helped me to see him better and to learn more about where he came from.

Every time I receive one of the newspapers, I read it from front to back. When the stories about the missing and murder women and the cause--women speaking out and making noise--I was drawn to the movement. The more I read and learned how many Indigenous women, children, and men were lost to their families because of lack of concern by the authorities, my anger rose. I wanted to help.

The best way I knew was to use my voice—and being a writer, that meant my writing voice. I decided Hawke would be called to the reservation by his mother to help find a missing woman. Once the idea took root, I couldn’t shake it.

And to not only spread the word, I decided that proceeds from the sale of the book would go to the non-profit organization, Enough Iz Enough. This organization is on the Umatilla Reservation with classes on how to protect and watch out for potential dangers, and to give voice to the missing tribal members.

I was fortunate when I began pulling information together to write the book to ask the organizer of the program if she would be willing to help me make sure my portrayal of the situation was accurate as well as logistics and information about the reservation. She was accepting of my request. And with good reason. She has lost four family members. Two were found murdered, the killer never caught and two have never been found. The cause is personal for her. And hearing her story of loss and futile efforts for answers, the cause became personal to me.

After reading the finished product, she gave me a lovely review: “The story was captivating, I couldn’t put it down. So many memories were brought to surface, so many emotions, like this has been lived before, because it has, this is a glimpse into our reality in the Reservation. Thank you for seeing us & helping tell part of the story.”  Kola Shippentower-Thompson Enough Iz Enough, Co-Founder & Director

Is there a cause that you have felt compelled to help? What made you decide to be part of a solution?

Stolen Butterfly, Book 7 in the Gabriel Hawke Novels is now available


“We told the woman who called in, we have to wait seventy-two hours. These reservation women get liquored up and forget they have kids at home or decide they’ve had enough and walk out.”

Hawke stared at the bald-headed detective in his fifties that he’d been referred to when he explained why he was there. “Detective Lockland. You are stereotyping the reservation women. Most have strong motherly instincts and wouldn’t go on a drunk or walk away from their families. This woman happens to be one of those. She works at the bank in town, never misses picking her son up from the sitter, and doesn’t go out partying and drinking.”

“How do you know that? Her family could be lying to you.” The man wasn’t about to back down from his stand on what he thought to be the truth.

Ignorance about his people was something Hawke had fought all his life. “I know because I’ve been interviewing the people she works with and the people she spends time with. Something that might help us find her faster if you had done the same last night when my mother called you.”

The man leaned back in his chair and smiled. “Now I see. You’re one of them. Does your superior know you’re here poking around in someone else’s case?”

“Then you are going to investigate? If this is your case?” Hawke held back the disdain he felt for the man as the detective stuttered and tried to say it wasn’t a case until seventy-two hours had passed.

 Here is the back cover blurb:

The proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the non-profit Enough Iz Enough. This is a community outreach organization that advocates for MMIP on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. 

Stolen Butterfly

Gabriel Hawke Novel #7

Missing or Murdered

When the local authorities tell State Trooper Gabriel Hawke’s mother to wait 72 hours before reporting a missing Umatilla woman, she calls her son and rallies members of the community to search.

Hawke arrives at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and learns the single mother of a boy his mom watches would never leave her son. Angered over how the local officials respond to his investigating, Hawke teams up with a security guard at the Indian casino and an FBI agent. Following the leads, they discover the woman was targeted by a human trafficking ring at the Spotted Pony Casino.

Hawke, Dela Alvaro, and FBI Special Agent Quinn Pierce join forces to bring the woman home and close down the trafficking operation before someone else goes missing.

Link for all ebook vendors:


Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 50 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.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

MY VERSION OF A MODERN-DAY COWBOY By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless


I write in several different genres, but the bulk of my books are set in the American West where cowboys ruled the range and capture our hearts. Over the years and the generations, as the American West was settled and the demand for beef grew, helped along by the arrival of railroads, cowboys continued to adapt, whether it was their equipment and technique, or the type of clothing they required due to weather or other factors. 

I like to think my heroes have adapted as well.  My latest hero, Blaze, is my version of a modern-day cowboy.  Riding onto Blue Sky Island on his Harley, Blaze is a legend in his own way as the world’s greatest stuntman.  The bike also gave me license to dress him in leather chaps, which I still think of as one of the sexiest things a man can wear. 

I also see the work of a stuntman as being very similar to that of a cowboy, with grueling physical labor and long hours, both parties facing danger head on every day.  At the end of each day, when Blaze climbs onto his Harley and rides off into the distance, their lives seem not so different.  The man.  The legend.

Here’s where my heroine and Blaze meet in ONE FANTASY FALL

“You’re early.”  Kaitlin opened the door to see a man clad in dusty, formfitting leather, his shaggy caramel-colored hair badly in need of a trim.  She stepped back a pace.  “Come on in. Let’s see what you look like under all that road dust.’’

The stranger stepped past her and into the front hall. “You must be Kaitlin. Steve said—’’

“My brother knows I can’t resist a challenge.’’ Kaitlin circled the man, eyes narrowed as she inspected him from all angles. Actually, in the right clothes, this one should clean up quite nicely. And he did possess a certain undeniable something.

“One good thing. We should be able to fit you off the rack..” Broad shoulders tapered to lean hips, which were hugged by a modern-day version of cowboy chaps in supple-looking black leather.

“But those chaps. The look is all wrong unless you’re auditioning for a cowboy commercial.” The garment in question sheathed him like an intimate glove, up over snakeskin boots to hug an impossibly long length of leg, before ending in a V of faded denim below his belt. The scrap of exposed denim was the exact same shade as his eyes.  Realizing where her gaze lingered, she looked away and hoped she wasn’t blushing.

He rocked back on his heels and crossed his arms over his impressive chest.  One side of his mouth quirked up in an endearing half-smile.  “I wasn’t expecting an audition.”

“This is only the beginning.  Tomorrow is your photo shoot and Bethany, from the modeling agency, needs your portfolio before she meets with the client.” She cocked her head. “I’d better book you a facial. You look like you haven’t slept in two days.” Something in the way he turned those gray-blue eyes on her caused an unsettling flutter in her nether regions.

“Good guess. Considering I just drove straight through from California.”

Kaitlin’s jaw dropped. “What were you doing there?”

“I live there.”

Dead silence hung between them and Kaitlin felt herself flush.  Weren’t people supposed to outgrow adolescent blushing?  Apparently not her. Even her ears were burning. “Somehow, I get the feeling you’re not my brother’s friend/wannabe model I was expecting.”

“Is that what he told you?”  The newcomer braced one shoulder against the doorframe as if he had every right to be there, thumbs hooked in the pockets of his jacket.

She blew out a breath that didn’t do a thing to help cool her down.  “I’m sorry.  Were you looking for Steve?  He’s at work right now.”

His half-smile turned into the real thing.  The change in expression deepened the grooves in his cheeks and gave him a lazy look that matched his careless pose.

His smile was addictive and Kaitlin caught herself starting to smile back.

“How about I introduce myself properly? The name’s Blaze.” Lazily his right

hand stretched toward her, broad and sun-browned with a faint line of scars

visible across the first two knuckles. “I’m your date for the weekend.”

Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her many alpha male heroes.   

Her hero, Steele, in HER UNDERCOVER COWBOY, is a modern-day cowboy, so when she was wooed by a man called Steel— while he’s not a cowboy, he is an alpha male and her forever hero.  Which is why all of her stories end Happily Ever After.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Finding Love in Comfort, Texas by Sable Hunter


One of the joys of living in the Texas Hill Country is the opportunity to have a wide choice of unique and marvelous locales for my books right at my fingertips and in front of my eyes. I have created a universe of characters and connected series set in and around Austin, from the Highland Lakes to the north to the winding banks of the Guadalupe to the south – and all in between. My current work-in-progress is entitled I SWEAR, starring a handsome hunk named Jonah Callan who is a mechanic. He does work for nearby Tebow Ranch in Kerrville, but he also maintains a shop in the small town of Comfort, Texas to be near his father who has early onset Alzheimer’s. There is a lot going on in this story besides romance, there is the internal struggle the main characters have with being caretakers, there is the threat of kidnapping and human trafficking, there’s even a poltergeist in the mix. Ha! Typical Sable Hunter fare – a mishmash of issues reminiscent of what we all go through. Our lives are seldom simple. 

When I originally chose Comfort as a backdrop for this man’s story, I knew very little about the town. My process is to visit the community as well as google the heck out of it to find historical information, interesting facts, mysteries – etc. I work as much of those interesting facts into my books as possible. Plus, those types of trivial tidbits just fascinate the heck out of me.

Some towns have very little recorded history or points of interest to brag about. Some have been blessed with an abundance. Comfort and the surrounding area fit into the second category. In 1854, a group of Germans settled at the site of an old Native American village. These pioneers were academics, all well-educated. In fact for the most part, they spoke Latin when they conversed. They were a particular sort known as Freethinkers, migrating to America for religious freedom. They weren’t all atheists, but they weren’t religious. Their desire was to live in a place where no one told them what to do, how to think, how to worship or if they had to worship at all. In fact, there was no churches built in the town until the 1900’s. Funerals and such were well-attended, but primarily secular.

As an interesting aside, the name of the town was chosen out of hope. They hoped to find comfort in this land of newfound freedom. Unfortunately, due to those Freethinkers being more accustomed to a more sedate, intellectual life, they found it difficult to adjust to the Texas frontier. Although hard working, they just weren’t used to building their own homes, planting their own crops, making their own way – etc. And they sure weren’t used to the mosquitoes and other disCOMFORTS. So, they kept the name Comfort as the name of their community more as a statement of irony than anything else. Of course, time would smooth things out and they did become comfortable in their new home.

All of this sounds fairly mundane, but the timing made it anything but. The Civil War came along and turned everything upside down – primarily because Texas sided with the Confederacy and these FREETHINKERS from Comfort firmly stood against slavery and secession. When required to vow their allegiance to the confederate cause, they refused. Ideally, people would have said live and let live, moving on to find someone else to help fight their battle, but war is seldom reasonable. Forced to choose, approximately sixty men and women attempted to flee to Mexico rather than fight against their newly adopted country. They were early conscientious objectors, I guess you might say. Their plan was to make their way to New Orleans, then return to the Hill Country when things settled down. Just before they made it over the Rio Grande, they were attacked by a Confederate force and 36 were killed. Below is the monument to those FREETHINKERS whose greatest wish was for humanity to be free.

Worthy of note is the fact that the flag standing in front of this Treue der Union monument in Comfort, TX,, is one of two flags in the US, the other being at Arlington Cemetery, which has been given the right to fly constantly at half-mast. 

Descendants of those FREETHINKERS are still around today – as is the town they built. In fact, Comfort is known as being one of the best conserved small towns in the country, over 100 original structures still stand. Residents pride themselves in preserving history. Many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are a few examples of architecture from that period:

NOTE: The shopping is incredible, especially if you love neat, specialty shops!  

Much of the commerce of this early era depended on sheep, goats, grains, masonry, and lumber. In the 40’s and 50’s, the Hill Country was considered to be the international center of wool and mohair. A Comfort resident by the name of Adolf Stieler held the prestigious title of Angora Goat King of the World. I’m sure he was very proud.

Another notable business venture was an armadillo farm. The animals were raised to be harvested for their shells which went to produce basket, purses, and other various items. This establishment stayed active and profitable until the 1970’s.


This is a picture of the Apelt building which housed the offices for the armadillo farm. I have mixed feelings about this since the armadillos were killed for their shells. I’ve always enjoyed seeing them moseying around through the underbrush. I sure don’t see as many of them as I used to growing up. I don’t know if the highways got them, if pesticides played a role, or the Apelt’s were the reason for the diminished population.

One interesting thing I’ll share with you that I learned while writing another of my books called FORGET ME NEVER, it was the lowly armadillo who can be thanked for the cure for leprosy. For centuries, people thought leprosy was a judgment disease, much like our early thoughts on AIDS. People who came down with leprosy were ostracized, their identity taken away and a number assigned, their right to vote abolished, they couldn’t even live at home. If they bore children in the colony, those children were removed immediately. The only leper colony in North America was in a little town in Louisiana called Carville, on a bend in the Mississippi River. Scientists and doctors working at Carville Leprosarium finally discovered that the only other creature who can carry leprosy besides humans is the little armadillo. After experimentation and study, they discovered that leprosy is just a virus – a virus called Hansen’s Disease that can be easily controlled and even cured with medication. Now, that was probably more than you wanted to know – but that’s Sable for you.

Another oddity about Comfort is what I call the bat tower. All of the Hill Country, most especially Austin itself, is big on bats. We have festivals for them. One of our downtown bridges is home to the largest colony of Mexican freetail bats in the world. Instead of trying to destroy them, Austin celebrates them. Crowds gather at night to watch them take flight. They are protected and revered. In nearby Comfort, in 1918, a man named Albert Steves built a bat roost in order to use a large colony of the creatures to naturally control the mosquito population. At one time there were 16 of these structures in the US and Europe and now there are only two – this one in Comfort and one in the Florida Keys. It stands over 30 feet high. I’m not sure they worked very well. 

One thing I don’t have a picture of, but I wish I did (for some reason my camera wouldn’t work in the Comfort cemetery…woo-woo-I’m making a spooky noise) is a bunch of graves covered in seashells. I asked around as to why and I was told several things. None of them made a lot of sense. I know it wasn’t just a convenient covering for protection because the shells weren’t readily available. Comfort is located a couple of hours north of the Gulf of Mexico, so they would’ve had to be hauled in. Strangely, these are all old graves and many of them were those original FREETHINKERS. This fact makes the most common explanation that it was a Christian thing highly unlikely. Now, it could’ve been a hold-over custom from the old-country and it may also be some version of the African belief in ‘the sea shall take them back home’. After all that happened, I’m sure many of those folks wished they’d never left Germany. Another explanation offered was the old practice of putting a shell or a rock on a grave each time you visit – although most of these graves appear to be completely covered in shells and it seems they were that way from the beginning. I’ve researched and researched for some cryptic meaning, and I really can’t find one. If I solve this mystery, I’ll let you know.

Another wild thing about Comfort is that its home to a future cryogenics lab. You know, where they freeze your body until you can be brought back to life and cured of whatever ails you. Director and principal architect, Stephen Valentine, chose an 800-acre plot of land just outside Comfort to house a facility known as the Time-ship. This facility will hold up to 50000 bodies in suspended animation at -130 degrees, all hoping to be resurrected at a more opportune time. Time-ship’s design is said to be a cross between a spaceship and a castle. The town of Comfort was chosen for its safety, located far from locales famous for earthquakes, tornadoes, or snowstorms. There are also no military bases or nuclear power plants close by. Also, the entire complex will be off grid, using solar and wind energy to avoid crippling power outages. Reports also state they’ve consulted experts on ways for the project to survive a nuclear bomb. After all, it would be sad to beat death by freezing, then get blown up in a world war. Frankly, I’m going to just see where death takes me. As an avid ghosthunter, I sorta have an idea what to expect and I’m not sure where I’d be hovering if my body was made into a popsicle.

There is a whole lot more to be seen in Comfort, but my day was full. If I were staying the night, I’d book a room at the Holekamp Guest Haus. While the B*B is very attractive, what makes it special to me is that it was built in 1906 from a Sears Roebuck kit, the best they offered at $5000. The photo below is not the exact kit, but it’s an example of how they were sold. I thought this was so neat until I talked to my cousin, and she said we had one of those old Sears houses in Bronson. I can remember the house and it was very neat. Who knew? I expect this will be a thing of the future also and when Amazon starts selling kit houses, I may just order me one.

Anyway…Comfort is a fascinating place. I am having a blast writing about Jonah and Delaney in I SWEAR. And if you read the book, you’ll see some of these facts again, worked into the plot in whatever may I can figure out how to use them. This is my favorite part of writing, learning everything I can about the world I build for my characters.

Talk to you later,