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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

If reality was no option...

An interesting article came across my news feed last week: Why do you hate your job?

What intrigued me wasn't that most of us hate our jobs, it is called work, after all. No, what got my attention was the sudden realization that I didn't know whether the characters in my latest WIP hated their jobs—or what their dream job would be for those one of those days.

If you know me, you’ve know my escape-it-all job is to wait tables in a diner in a small Southern town on the coast or in the Keys. Over the years, I've had this discussion with a number of friends, who has 'dream' jobs ranging from ghost busters or wine tasters.

But I hadn't asked my characters. So I did. 

The hero of my current, if-I-every-finish-this-self-torture WIP has inherited the family’s small construction and renovation business. Yet he fantasizes about specializing in retrofitting green technology on home while living deep in a red state (most of his clients quietly ask for the retro and don’t want the neighbors to know—ha, ha)

When he wants to chuck it all, his dream job is to run river-rafting tours in Idaho.

Days later, I still don’t know how my heroine would escape. It’s driving me nuts. The job has to be borderline crazy, yet in complete keeping with her personality. She’s driven, ambitious, and likes people more in theory than in actuality. So waiting on tourists is not going to be her thing. Ha, ha.

But she’s not the type to hermit away either, even if she’s currently avoiding everyone in her home town as if she were in the witness protection program. I've come to the conclusion that she's not the type to ditch it all. She's the one who's going to dig in until it kills her.

What about you and the people in your heads? Do they dream of leaving it behind or would they dig in?

Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. She's attempting her hand at a contemporary, but it's not going so well. In fact, she's dug in and it will likely kill her. 

If you want to know more about her as an author, visit her Facebook page.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Yuma Territorial Prison- WOMEN INMATES

When the Yuma Territorial Prison was designed and constructed in 1876, the builders never contemplated women prisoners. The arrival of those 29 women over 30 years often caused chaos.

Unidentified female inmates-Yuma Territorial Prison

In 1878, Lizzie Gallagher became the first female prisoner at Yuma Territorial Prison. She began serving her sentence for manslaughter, but with no provision for female prisoners she was kept in solitary confinement. After just 42 days, Lizzie was pardoned and released.

Manuela Fimbres, gave birth to a baby boy in 1889 while serving time for accessory to murder. The baby stayed with her in the prison for 2 years after which she was pardoned because of concern for the child. Manuela proved to be a troublesome inmate, and for that reason the guards were happy to see her leave. However, they all missed the young child.

In 1893, a separate women's Ward was finally completed. The room was carved out of the Granite Hillside by inmate labor.

A women's yard was constructed on the west end of the ward for recreation, but was destroyed when Southern Pacific Railroad built a new rail line in 1922 that operates to this day.

Elena Estrada was in prison for a crime of passion she was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter, when she stabbed her unfaithful lover then cut open his chest, pulled out his heart, and threw the bloody mass into his face.

Maria Marino was imprisoned for the murder of her brother. Alfred Marino, age 15, did not like the way his sister, Maria, age 16 was dancing and told her to stop. Maria threatened to kill him, and Alfred said, “Kill me then!” So Maria got a shotgun and shot her brother in the face, killing him instantly.

Pearl Hart was probably the most famous female inmates. There is quite an attractive display about her in the prison museum.

Pearl's number in
Yuma Territorial Prison
Along with Joe Boot, she robbed the globe to Florence Stagecoach. She became a media sensation around the entire country.
She was sentenced to five years in Yuma.  She used her feminine wiles with both the prisoners and the guards alike, using her position as the only female at an all-male facility to her advantage in an effort to improve her situation. After serving three years of her sentence, Pearl Hart was released December 1902 after being pardoned by Arizona Territorial Governor Brodie. The reason for this pardon, given on the condition she leave the territory, is unclear.

(The photos are mine, but except for the information from Wikipedia, many of them were taken of display materials at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park. Most of the information in this blog post comes from the same source. If you missed last month's post about the Yuma Territorial Prison, you may read it by CLICKING HERE.)

Anyone who has not yet read my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series which takes place just on the other side of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Columbia and Sonora, you may enjoy my first two books in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series. You may find the first book in the series, Big Meadow Valentine, by CLICKING HERE, and the second book, A Resurrected Heart, by CLICKING HERE.

The third book, Her Independent Spirit, touches on Independence Day, 1884. More importantly, it touches on the efforts of two women in the gold mining town of Lundy to declare their own independence from their current circumstances. It also includes an event in Lundy’s history that changed the dynamics of the town from that point forward. You may find this book by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Anyone here a Bon Jovi fan? I AM! LOL I love his song “I’ll Be There for You”—I’ll try to include a link here before the end of the post. This is one saying that I see a LOT when I’m editing. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, I edit a LOT of historical fiction. I don’t remember ever hearing it “back in the dark ages” of the 1950’s and 1960’s…so I guess maybe the 70’s was when it got to be popular. The 1970’s, not the 1870’s, y’all. I don’t believe a knight would tell his lady he’d “be there” for her…at least not for another 500-800 years, or somewhere around that, anyhow.

Here’s another one that’s jarring to me—the use of “morph” for “change”—it reminds me of those wonderful days when my son Casey was a young boy and so, so crazy about the Power Rangers. Anyone remember them? They were popular in the 1990’s. Five teenagers—two girls and three boys— (later changed to a total of six) who had the power to change from mere teens to THE POWER RANGERS! How did they accomplish this? They gave each other meaningful looks and said, “It’s morphin’ time!” And with some fancy camera work, there they were, in their Power Ranger color-coded uniforms. All…morphed…

How about the response to “Thank you.”? Truly…can you picture a knight responding with “No problem.”? No…me either. Yet, sometimes that’s the response that crops up in historical manuscripts. It doesn’t matter how politely one responds, the response has not been invented or introduced into thought or speech patterns of that time.

Another simple one that turns up a lot in response to “How are you?” is … “I’m good.” When did this phrase come into existence? I don’t ever remember this being said until only in the last couple of decades. When talking about someone else—“He’s good to go.” No…you might hear that on Blue Bloods or Law and Order, but not so much in 1860’s Indian Territory.
"Marshal Tilghman, how are you today?" "I'm good."

Here are a couple of words that tend to creep in a lot—and shouldn’t—flashback and replay. Remember what these words are really saying, what they convey to people of this day and age who are reading the stories we’re writing. A medieval knight or a drifting cowboy will have no idea what “replaying something in his mind” even means—or that he’s having a “flashback” to when he was fighting at the battle of Honey Springs. Or that he’s “flashing back” to something that might have been a sweet memory in his early years. These characters are going to just be remembering, recalling, or thinking back to something… When you use this type of modern wording that refer to contemporary actions/equipment, it’s easy to pull readers out of the story. Because my husband is such a sports fan, I can’t hear or read the word “replay” without thinking of the sports connotation it carries. Flashback—this conjures up images of Hollywood movie scenes.
Let's see the replay on that!

“Well, it’s all about you, isn’t it?” This is one that creeps in every so often, too. It “being all about” one person or another—or NOT “being all about” them is something that should never, ever, ever show up in any kind of historical writing. It’s easy to do—these contemporary sayings are so normal to us we can’t imagine NOT using them in daily conversation—problem is, it’s our job to check and double check what our characters are saying. If we don’t, they go out into the world showing that we have not “brought them up” correctly.

That reminds me—do you know the difference between being “reared” and “raised”? The standard saying used to be that “Children are reared; livestock is raised.” Those lines have blurred in modern times. I still remember my mother talking about children being “reared” and her brother “raising” cattle. She was born in 1922, so I would say that distinction has faded only during my lifetime.

This is “picky” but it’s the sort of thing that readers will seize on—and there are certain word usages and phrases that will definitely pull me right out of a story that’s written in historical times, so I’m sure that’s true of others, as well.
These are a few of the many “uh-ohs” I see when I’m reading/editing. What are some you’ve come across?

If you are a FRIENDS tv show fan, you know that there is another “I’ll Be There for You” – the theme of the show by the Rembrandts. There’s also a Kenny Rogers song that uses that phrase. But I promised you Bon Jovi! Here he is singing “I’ll Be There for You”—a wonderful song to turn up loud and belt out when you’re driving…just remember, in historical fiction writing, we have to find another way to say this. Kinda makes me sad, but we have to wait for it to be invented.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Comanchero's Bride by Kaye Spencer – June #blogabookscene #PrairieRosePubs @PrairieRosePubs

The #blogabookscene theme for June is On the road again.  The travel excerpt below is from my western romance novel, The Comanchero's Bride. Mingo and Isabel are moments away from embarking upon a literal run for their lives from Albuquerque in the New Mexico Territory to the safety of Mexico's border.


Mingo guided Isabel across the yard to the barn then set about tightening the cinches, checking the ties around the bedrolls, shaking and pulling at the packhorse’s load, and making doubly sure the saddlebags and canteens were secure.

Over his shoulder, he said, “Slide your shotgun into the scabbard and tie your bags to the saddle or hang them over the saddle horn.” Hearing no movement, he glanced her way and saw that she stood beside her horse, staring at it.


“The saddle.”

He looked at it, then at her, and shrugged, motioning for her to mount. “, and that is your horse.”

“But I’ve never ridden on a saddle like that.”

Grinning, he swatted her rear playfully then gave her a leg up. “You will have a few hundred miles to practice.”

She made a face at him as she adjusted her reins and settled her feet in the stirrups. “Why didn’t you ride your palomino here?”

“I need him to be fresh when we cross the border. An old friend is looking after him.”

“You’ve mentioned this friend before.”

He heard the curiosity in her voice. “For now, it is best he remains just an old friend.”

“You’re keeping secrets from me?”

He didn’t hesitate. “I am, but it is for both your protection and his if I am arrested. If we are caught, you cannot be forced to reveal what you do not know, and he would be accused of interfering with the law. I will not jeopardize him and, until we meet at the border, it is better you do not know. I ask for your trust in this.”

She nodded. “You have my trust, always.”

He turned for the door, but stopped when she clutched his shoulder. Looking at her, what he saw in her eyes made him lay a hand on her knee, concerned...

The Comanchero's Bride is available on Amazon.
Print | eBook | KindleUnlimited

The Comanchero's Bride is also included in this boxed set.
Click HERE for more information.

July's Blog-a-Book-Scene theme: Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Until then,

Kaye Spencer

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Creativity (An 8-Part Series): Part VI - The Virgin and the Sacred Prostitute

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don't miss
Part I   - Imagination
Part II  - Domestication vs. Wildness
Part III - Shape-Shifting
Part IV - Forbearance
Part V  - Maiden/Mother/Crone

Both the virgin and the sacred prostitute archetypes create strong images and strong aversions. We all like the virgin, despite the implication of her naïveté. The prostitute? That couldn't possibly apply to us, right? And why include sacred before it? Isn't that a huge misappropriation of the underlying meaning of the word?

The virgin is best described as pregnant with possibilities. This is a self-contained energy, harboring all that's needed for creation to bloom forth. Virginity was revered because the energies of the body, the mind, and the spirit remained clean and untouched. Within this state, ideas can be nurtured without taint and corruption, much like a virgin forest contains all it requires to sustain itself. The dark side is the condemnation of the sensual side of life via a prudish disgust. To repress this energy is to stop the flow of creativity altogether. Celibate monks and nuns learn to channel their sexual energy rather than repress it.

The sacred prostitute is a form of psychic energy related to eros. It's an avenue of generating strong passion, which certainly applies to a sexual nature, but encompasses a broader context as a passion for creative endeavors. This archetype is related to ancient love goddesses such as Aphrodite, Isis, and Ishtar. This is not to be confused with the darker aspects of prostitution—sexual abuse, sexual addictions, rape, or any type of manipulation using sexual energy. The practice of sacred prostitution—the sharing of erotic energy to heal on physical, mental, and spiritual realms—brings transcendence. Many art-forms attempt to achieve this state.

Every woman has an aspect of the sacred prostitute within. The artist, when truly embodying her work, allows herself to be a conduit from the world of matter to the world of spirit, sharing herself with one and all. Her work lights the way for others.

According to Carolyn Myss, the prostitute archetype "engages lessons in integrity and the sale or negotiation of one's integrity or spirit due to fears of physical and financial survival or for financial gain." This universal archetype is related to selling one's talents and ideas, and how selling-out can trigger a downward spiral of self-esteem and self-respect. Anytime you consider shifting your faith from the Divine in the world to a physical satisfaction, the prostitute can be your greatest ally, keeping you on the path of highest enlightenment.

Works Cited
Beak, Sera. Red Hot & Holy: A Heretic's Love Story. Sounds True, Inc., 2013.

Myss, Carolyn. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. Harmony Books, 2001.

Don’t miss Part VII in the Creativity series: Synchronicity

Until next time…

Connect with Kristy

Monday, June 11, 2018

#blogabookscene ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I’m writing this as dh and I are preparing to travel for some Cowboy Action fun this weekend. We have it so easy—pack a suitcase, put everything in the truck and go when we’re ready. Three hours on the road and we’re in a different state. It’s nothing like it was in 1889 where those same 175 miles would have taken the better part of a week in a stagecoach or on horseback. To say nothing of sleeping on the ground and cooking over a campfire versus a hotel bed and room service.

Here’s a scene from my novel, WILD TEXAS HEARTS, where Wolf and his son, Calvin, are “on the road again.”

Dawn came, but only a generous man would have called it morning. Wolf knew the sun was up there somewhere, since there was light enough to see the ground, but that was all he would concede. They were a day out of Fort Elliott, too far to turn back. A steady rain had started in the very late hours of last night and it was still falling.

“Pa?” Calvin hunched under a gray rain slicker that was three sizes too big. “When’s it going to stop?”

Wolf held on to his temper, barely. “I’m not God, son, and that’s a decision only He gets to make. No use complaining about it. You’ll be just as wet and you’ll irritate your horse.” And me, he added, but not aloud. He didn’t want to upset his son. He was too damned grateful to have him back alive.

Calvin heaved a sigh and patted his horse’s neck. “Okay, Pa.” They rode in silence for another mile. “Pa?”

Wolf topped a small rise and pulled his horse to a stop to wait for Calvin to catch up. “What now, son?”

“I think Lightning needs to rest. I might be getting too heavy for her.”

His irritation evaporated. Wolf turned his face away so Calvin wouldn’t see his grin. His boy was not quite eight years old and as small as Wolf was big. “Well, if you think so, we’d better find a spot to stop for a while.” He scanned the landscape again. “There’s a small stream a couple of miles ahead. Can she make it that far?”

“Sure I ca-- I mean, she can.”

Looking over their back trail for any sign someone was following, Wolf checked the lead rope on the packhorse, then bumped his big chestnut mare in the ribs and set off down the hill with Calvin close behind. The trees that grew near the stream were too small to offer him any protection, but Calvin managed to ride under some of the higher branches, out of the rain. Wolf dismounted and lifted his son from the saddle just for the joy of holding him. Resisting the urge to hug him, Wolf set him on the ground. “Go on. I’ll see to Lightning.”

Calvin didn’t wait for a second invitation, but disappeared into the brush downstream, his slicker flying behind him. When he returned, Wolf was waiting to boost him back into the saddle. “We need to keep riding. There’s not enough cover for all of us.”

“Okay, Pa.” Calvin settled on the back of the chestnut filly that had been a gift from Jake McCain, the Texas Ranger responsible for rescuing his son from the killers who’d kidnapped him. Calvin leaned forward to pat the horse’s neck. “Come on, Lightning. We’ve still got some miles to cover.”

One heavy eyebrow rose as Wolf heard his son quote words he’d said many times in the months since they’d ridden away from Lucinda, Texas. Being on the trail was hard, and they didn’t cover many miles in a day, but Calvin’s company made for more laughter and sunshine, somehow. Wolf stretched tired muscles. He was ready to be home. How much more tired must a young boy be?

“We have enough supplies to keep us for a while yet, so we don’t have to go into town first. I expect we’ll be sleeping in our own beds in two or three more days.” Alone Wolf could have covered the distance from the fort to Civil in two days.

Calvin glanced at the sky, his face a mirror image of his mother. “Only three more nights on the ground.”

“Maybe less, if we get moving.”

The boy grinned at him, mischief sparkling in his eyes. “Then what are we doing standing here? You aren’t afraid of a little rain, are you Pa?” Without warning, he kicked his little mare into a gallop, splashing through the stream and racing away across open ground. Wolf swung into the saddle, dropped the packhorse’s lead rope and shot off in pursuit. The big horse overtook them in seconds, and Calvin squealed when Wolf scooped him from the saddle on the run.

See you the first Monday of next month!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book review: Walk the Promise Road by Anne Schroeder



Mary Rodgers has lost everything—or so she believes. Her entire family has been struck down with influenza, leaving her alone in the world—except for her cousin Philip. But Philip is bound for Oregon to meet up with Laurel, his fiancée, who’s waiting for him. Though Mary begs him to take her with him on the Oregon Trail, he resists. What would people think?

Mary’s plan is simple. They already share a last name. They will pose as husband and wife. The wagonmaster is a firm man—and if he finds out the truth, he’ll force them to marry, dashing Philip’s dreams of a life with Laurel. But Mary promises it will be their secret, and Philip can’t leave her behind after all she’s lost.

When Luke Sayer, their half-Indian trail scout, begins to spend evenings at their fireside, other travelers notice the obvious mutual attraction between him and Mary. Though Mary denies it, she struggles to keep her promise without bringing harm to either her dear cousin, Philip, who has risked everything for her—or to Luke, the love of her life.

Mary's grit and determination will see her through the hardships and sorrows she encounters, but Luke’s love will give her hope for the future as they WALK THE PROMISE ROAD…

“With exquisite details of wagon trains, women and the West, Anne Schroeder takes us on an authentic journey of love and hope giving us characters to cheer for and moments of meaning to cherish.” — Jane Kirkpatrick, Award-winning author of ALL SHE LEFT BEHIND.

"The most accurate novel I've ever read on the Trail." — Michael Smith, Oregon Trail Preservation Committee

My review:

Take a journey along the Oregon Trail and discover a piece of our American history in a new way. Walk the Promise Road reads almost like a journal that has been reformatted into an educational storybook with a splash of a love story. The meticulous work that Anne Schroeder put into the story to make us feel all the trials and hardships along with the moments of joy and relief really shines through.

Mary, when this is done we will have made a part of history. Your journal will be read by your children and theirs. Lives will be changed because of what we did out here. A new country will be formed. Have you thought about that?

While I've always had a special fondness of Oregon Trail stories, Lucas and Mary's story has something different with how the everyday events and unique trials and adventures are brought to life. Traveling westward to settle new lands definitely wasn't a glamorous expedition. I think I was just as relieved as the emigrants to finally arrive in Oregon City and find a soothing place to be restored and settled!

Maybe the trail is like life itself. If you knew what was in store up ahead, you might not even have the nerve to start, but having no choice, you do your best; and in the end, you triumph through your own grit.

Purchase here: