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Thursday, September 24, 2020

FREE BOOK Beneath a Horse-Thief Moon (Prairie Moon Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition by Elizabeth Clements

Free Promotion runs Thursday, September 24, 2020, 12:00 AM PDT through Sunday, September 27, 2020, 11:59 PM PDT for this first book in the Prairie Moon Trilogy. 

Amazon shows the second book as the first book. Hopefully we can get that straight before book 3 comes out on October 1st.


U.S. Marshal Chase Reynolds is on a mission—to track down an escaped train robber, even if it takes him into the wilds of Canada! Hot on the outlaw’s trail, he follows him into the Canadian West—and encounters more than he bargained for when he’s taken prisoner by a beautiful woman.

Sara Cranston is trying to hold on to her ranch that a band of outlaws is determined to steal from her. A woman alone, she’s “easy pickin’s”—and this ruthless crew is after more than the ranch—there’s a legend of buried gold hidden somewhere on her land.

Sara and Chase have a shared past—one that is full of lies and secrets…and love. Seventeen years have gone by, and the passion is still there between them—but will deceit and mistrust keep them from the happiness they both crave?

Chase has a duty to bring in the outlaws, but now he must work fast to do it before they murder the woman he loves. Can he convince her the future is still theirs for the taking if they only survive to enjoy it? Anything can happen BENEATH A HORSE-THIEF MOON…

I loved this heartwarming adventure from talented debut author Elizabeth Clements.
—Jacquie Rogers, author of the Hearts of Owyhee series


Whistling Blaze over, Chase pulled rawhide strips from his saddlebag and hobbled the outlaw. There wasn't much he could do about the man's wounds except clean them with water from his canteen. Folding his handkerchief over the bloody stumps, he bound them with the man's bandana.
“I'd just as soon see you bleed to death,” Chase muttered to the unconscious man. “One less outlaw. But dead men tell no tales. And I want to hear all about your rustling partners.”
Murmuring to calm the skittish tethered horse, Chase slung the outlaw across the saddle and tied him down with a rope. He did the same with the dead man, although neither was a featherweight. His shoulder throbbed and burned like hell. Blood trickled inside his sleeve.
“Hold it right there,” a familiar voice growled behind him.
Damn, I'm getting old if a woman gets the drop on me twice in one night.

Be sure Amazon shows the price for buy the book as free before clicking to buy it.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gathering Steam

     The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) continued its quiet state-by-state campaign for the right to vote. Meanwhile, the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU), led by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, was determined to keep the cause in front of the public.
     In March 1914, the Senate voted on a federal woman suffrage amendment for first time since 1887. The bill was defeated. It was reintroduced the next day.
Chicago's Parade

    That same year, Paul organized May Day parades in cities across the country, garnering local and national publicity for the movement. Additionally, the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, with more than two million members throughout the U.S., formally endorsed the suffrage campaign. In November, women won full suffrage in Montana and Nevada.
     The House of Representatives voted for first time on a federal woman suffrage amendment in January 1915.  The measure was defeated.
     That same month, the CU opened a "freedom booth" at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, where they displayed exhibits in support of expanding full women’s suffrage beyond the eleven states that already had it. Helen Keller, a famous supporter of the cause, spoke at the booth. The CU representatives collected 500,000 signatures on their suffrage petition at the exposition. Suffrage envoys left California in September, carrying the petition by automobile across the country to Congress and President Wilson.
Suffrage Envoys

    Carrie Chapman Catt again assumed leadership of the NAWSA in 1915. She continued the state-by-state efforts to win suffrage. Attempts to reconcile with the CU failed. Despite NAWSA objections, the CU restructured as a national organization and sent organizers to all states to plan conventions and establish state branches. In September, the CU held the first Woman Voters Convention with delegates from states where women had full voting rights.
     In December 1915, the CU held its first national convention in Washington, D.C. The event coincided with the opening of the 64th Congress and the arrival of the suffrage envoys carrying the petition. On December 7, a federal woman suffrage amendment was introduced in the Senate. On the 16th, CU members testified in favor of the amendment before the House Judiciary Committee. The next day, a final attempt at reconciliation with the NAWSA failed.
      To keep the cause before the public, 23 CU members left Washington, D.C. in April 1916 on "The Suffrage Special," a five-week train tour to garner support for the federal woman suffrage amendment among women voters in the West. Subsequently, Alice Paul organized the National Woman’s Party, which was made up of women who already had full suffrage. They supported the efforts of their disenfranchised sisters, who were still represented by the CU. The two complementary organizations coexisted until they merged into the National Woman’s Party (NWP) in 1917.
NWP  Flag
      The NWP met in Colorado Springs in 1916 to discuss the upcoming election. They chose not to endorse either candidate during the presidential campaigns.  Instead, they decided to oppose all Democratic congressional candidates in order to hold the party in power responsible for failure to pass the suffrage amendment.
      On October 20, a mob attacked NWP members who were demonstrating against Woodrow Wilson outside a Chicago auditorium. Three days later, Inez Milholland Boissevain, leader of the 1913 parade in Washington, D.C. and an NWP organizer, collapsed from exhaustion on the stage while giving speech against President Wilson and the Democratic Party in Los Angeles. She died of pernicious anemia on November 25 at the age of 30, becoming widely regarded as the first martyr of the women’s suffrage movement.
     In the November election, Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. Woodrow Wilson was re-elected President.
     NWP members silently demonstrated at Wilson’s annual address to Congress on December 5. They held a banner that read: “Mr. President, What Will You Do For Woman Suffrage?” A memorial service for Boissevain was held on Christmas Day in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Attendees drafted suffrage resolutions for presentation to the President.
     After two weeks of stonewalling, Wilson finally met with a delegation of 300 women on January 9, 1917. They presented him with the resolutions drafted during the memorial service and asked him to use his influence to promote a federal woman suffrage amendment. Wilson angrily refused and walked out on the women.
Silent Sentinels
     In response to Wilson’s rejection of their request for his support a federal amendment, NWP members began picketing the White House. These “Silent Sentinels” stood outside the fence day after day, despite rain, snow or whatever weather they encountered. They held banners with pro-suffrage messages and other banners of purple, white, and gold, the colors of the NWP.
Grand Picket
     On March 4, the eve of Wilson’s second inauguration, more than 1000 women staged a “Grand Picket.” They marched around the perimeter of the White House, where all gates to the grounds were locked, in driving icy rain, waiting to present him with resolutions from their national convention. After several hours, Wilson and his wife left the White House, driving past the picket line.
     In April, federal women’s suffrage amendments were introduced in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Additionally, the United States entered World War I. Carrie Chapman Catt promised President Wilson that the NAWSA would cease efforts on behalf of winning the vote in support of the war effort. Meanwhile, the “Silent Sentinels” continued their daily pickets.
      The battle had risen to a new level.


Monday, September 21, 2020

A Witch in Medieval England

One of the difficulties of considering the situation of witches in medieval England is the sources. Most of our information comes from trials in clerical or secular courts, and often these were motivated not by fear of sorcery but by greed, spite and politics. In England some kings feared witches – or found that accusing former mistresses or wives of witchcraft was an easy way to dispose of them, much as later Anne Boleyn was accused of sorcery by her disgruntled husband Henry Tudor.

These events were partly high politics. What of the position of witches in more everyday, village settings?

One clue comes from the folklore surrounding plants. Peonies, rowan and St John’s Wort, for example, were believed to protect households from sorcery, which shows how much witches were feared. At the same time, there were those men and women, known in many part of England as ‘cunning folk,’ or ‘wise men/women,’ who were turned to for help in fortune telling, charming and healing.

In the Middle Ages in England everyone was a bit of a witch because everyone believed in magic, often as a curious blend of pagan, folk and Christian ideas. Peasants would chant the Lord’s Prayer over their penned cattle each night, ending with singing ‘Agios, Agios, Agios’ around them every evening as a piece of protective magic. A mixture of charms and prayers were used to solve all manner of problems, and ranged from curing toothache by appealing to the Lady Moon and then praying, to the Anglo-Saxon prayer-charm ordering the devil of pain to flee 3 times and give way to Christ. 

Rowan, a protection against witches.
Nobles had magic gems and amulets to protect them from evil.  A medieval  ring discovered at the Palace of Eltham, Henry VIII’s childhood home near London, was set with ruby and diamonds and carried an inscription promising the wearer luck. Merchants also had  gems and rings to protect themselves, much as people in modern times might wear a St Christopher to give them luck on a journey.  A burglar would  throw a crushed magnet over hot coals to inspire the household  to leave and let the thief work in peace. Priests would use blessings and  prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer and add a charm or two to effect an exorcism or expel illness.  Even the legends of saints have them using charms and magic to cure ills. When all sickness was seen as the result of evil, then it made sense to use ‘good’ magic to counter it.

If a man had to go to court, he might tuck a spray of mistletoe into his clothes to ensure he was not convicted. If he wished to inflame a woman’s lust, then he could slip some ants’ eggs into her bath. However, there were times when such simple ‘magic’ might not work (believe it or not) and people would seek out a recognised practitioner of magic.

To raise the dead or a demon needed a person skilled in rituals, who knew Latin, Greek, writing, 
astrology and fumigation and many of these necromancers were ex-priests or clerics. Some could be involved in the dangerous business of assassination by magic. In 1325 the necromancer  John of Nottingham was accused of taking money in return for killing the king by making a wax effigy of  Edward II and sticking pins into it. John was acquitted.

For love magic, however, and to inspire or stop affection, most people turned to their local ‘cunning folk’, especially the local midwife/healer or perhaps a white witch - who would use magic and witchcraft to good ends and within a Christian setting, using prayers as well as charms. These people could be both feared and revered  and were vulnerable to being accused of evil-doing if a person or animal fell sick. 

Throughout the Middle Ages good witches were mostly tolerated in England. It wasn’t until 1401 that the first act of parliament against witchcraft was passed. If a person was convicted of witchcraft, it was regarded as a form of heresy and the offender was excommunicated. In 1438, Agnes Hancock was excommunicated by a clerical court when she could not account for the meanings of some of the words she used in her love charms. The church took a dim view of love spells, feeling that they interfered with people’s free choice, but it wasn’t until the late Middle Ages or beyond that women casting such spells were threatened with burning.

If you are interested in learning about an English medieval ‘good’ witch in a fictional setting, please see The Snow Bride and its sequel,  A Summer Bewitchment. (Now out in large print and as an ebook and paperback from Prairie Rose Publications)

Lindsay Townsend

Tales from the Family Jewelry Box #1

 Recently, I was searching on eBay for Victorian mourning jewelry.  You know the fancies that take you from time to time?  I had an intense craving to own a mourning brooch, and I decided to see what both fit my budget and appealed to me aesthetically.  Although I'm fascinated by Victorian hair jewelry, I'm also a bit horrified by it, so that was out.  I would have loved a piece of carved jet, especially proper Whitby jet, and I did earmark a few pieces on my watchlist.  But they were either a bit too small for my purposes, or considerably too pricey, or the bidding history suggested someone else might have lost their heart to the piece.  In the end, I chose this, which I absolutely adore.  I'm sure the leaf is symbolic of something, especially as I saw several brooches with a similar design.  New life in the face of death?  Falling autumn leaves?  While most of my antique and vintage jewelry is family pieces, I'm happy to have this one among them.

One thing that struck me, as I looked through the listings, was all of the pins with photographs in them which were labelled as mourning jewelry.  That may have been the case with some of the pieces, but I have two examples in my own collection which I happen to know were "proud parents" pieces, worn by two of my great grandmothers, from the last decade of the 19th century and the first one of the 20th.

The one on the left belonged to one of my great-grandmothers on my father's side.  The two children are my great-uncle Harry and my great-aunt Elizabeth -- this picture must have been taken before my grandfather (Fred), the youngest, was born.  My great-aunt was born in 1893, and as she lived to be 103, I was lucky enough to get to know her well.  The one on the right is my Nana, my maternal grandmother, who's solo because she was an only child.  I absolutely love her masses of curly hair and the off-the-shoulder dress.  I have a copy of the full-length photograph this was cropped down from, and she's wearing adorable high-button shoes, as well.  Nana (Marion) was born in 1905, and she's pretty young here, so I'd guess this is pre-1910. 

They're midway between 18th and early 19th century jewelry with painted miniature portraits, on the one hand, and modern jewelry with children's names or birthstones, on the other.  More public than a locket, less fancy than a cameo, from a time when photography was still an event rather than an everyday occurrence, they speak of parental pride in an absolutely delightful way.

Do you have old family photo jewelry?  What stories does your jewelry box tell?  I'd love to hear!

Cate Simon is the author of Courting Anna, which came out from Prairie Rose last year.  When not teaching college English, she's reading 19th century cultural history and hard at work on her next fiction project.  She would be very, very happy if you bought her book, and she's pretty sure you'd enjoy it, too.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Imperial Russian Samovar

Back in the winter of 1979, I was fortunate to visit the Soviet Union with a group of students from my university. It was a fabulous trip – even though the KGB sent at least two “guides” with us to every city. While in Leningrad (now back to being called St. Petersburg) we explored the Rominov’s Winter Palace. This almost obscenely opulent palace, which is now home of the Hermitage Museum, boasted of marble, mirrors, ceramics, artwork and more gold guilt than a European cathedral.

I remember being fascinated with the Russian samovar. Those in the Palace were ornate and, in some cases, enormous. But nearly every home had one. Brass, silver, ceramic, plain or highly decorated, they all served the same purpose: to keep hot beverages hot or cold ones cold.

The samovar has been around since the Romans used it to heat water to dilute their wine. In
Russia, they boiled water for tea.

The samovar is a large urn-like body with a space around or under the water tank into which hot coals or bits of wood were placed. The heat from the burning material would boil the water. The early Roman models, called an “autepsa”, had the body divided into two parts with a tank for water above and another tank for burning charcoal below. Later models had a single tank for water with a compartment down the center for the hot coals.

The Russian samovar had a spigot for dispensing the hot water. A concentrated tea “syrup” was made and kept warm by placing the tea pot on top of the tank. When you wanted a cup of tea, you measured some of the concentrated tea into a cup and added hot water.

And, if you needed refreshment during the hot summer months, ice was placed into the compartment to chill the water in the samovar.

The samovar can still be bought. The Russian town of Tula has become synonymous with the samovar because it is where all the craftsmen live and work. The samovar comes in all shapes and sizes, simple brass or silver, to works of ceramic and metal-working art.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tracy Garrett


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Book review: When Love Comes Knocking by Sarah J. McNeal

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Penelope Witherspoon was charmed into marriage by Evan Thoroughgood only to learn she loved a philanderer, who gambled away his inheritance and drank too heavily. It came as no surprise that four months after their marriage, Evan was shot dead for cheating at cards. Since his death, Penelope has come to depend on his older brother, Gil. In fact, she has come to love and respect him. No two men could be further apart in character. But, if Gil learns of her secret indiscretion, he will want nothing further to do with her. What is Penelope to do?

My review:

When Love Comes Knocking is a short and sweet story that delivers quite a bit of feels, and I'm not talking the winter's chill on a hot August afternoon.

Emotions are high and rolling as Penelope and Gil finally decide it's time to own up to their desires - even as fear and jealousy grip tight. I just felt bad that it took as long as it did for both of them to find their bravery... all that time lost! However, with thoughts like this from Gil: He would love her until the stars burned out, the wait was obviously well worth it. I was smiling as things finally got sorted out.

One other fun nugget: The way to love a woman can be a mysterious undertaking. Isn't that the truth! lol

Purchase link:

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Grandparents Day by Kaye Spencer #prairierosepubs #grandparentsday #westernromance

This Sunday, September 13th is National Grandparents Day in the U.S.

 The first Sunday after Labor Day was set aside as National Grandparents Day by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Going backward in time, it was in 1969 when a nine-year-old boy named Russell Capper wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon requesting a special day for grandparents. The origin of this day comes from 1956 and is attributed to the work of a woman named Marian McQuade.

These links, HERE and HERE, have more information about Grandparents Day in the U.S. and other countries.

I have three children and six grandchildren. This picture is from June of this year. This is me and my oldest son and one of his girls. They live in California. I live in Colorado. That is entirely too far away in my grandmotherly opinion.

 I am fortunate that I had a close relationship with my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother. My maternal grandmother died before I was two, and my paternal grandfather died before I was born.

 I often wonder if part of the discord and disharmony in society nowadays is due to the reality that we live in a mobile society, and that several generations of children have grown up too far from their grandparents to enjoy the benefits of a grandchild/grandparent relationship and the guidance that grandparents offer. It’s sad to me when children don’t have the gift of ‘readily accessible’ grandparents in their growing up years. It’s equally lamentable when parents don’t have their parents nearby to help them during their children’s growing up years.

Yes, I realize I’m over-generalizing, but you get what I mean.

 In my stories and books, published and yet-to-be-published, I either include grandparents as important characters in the stories, or I mention that grandparents exist. Since I write predominantly in historical settings, it is common to have multi-generational families living in close proximity, and I take full advantage of that.

Here are grandparent/grandchildren teaser excerpts from two of my novelettes. (Blogger isn’t playing nicely with these images. I apologize for the inferior quality of the text. Click to enlarge, and they will be sharp and clear.)


Until next time,
Kaye Spencer


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