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Monday, September 16, 2019

Launching Anna

I am not throwing away my shot!  Watch out, Lin-Manuel Miranda, it's my Hamilton moment!
photo by Marty Woess, Sharp Teeth Photography 

This past Thursday night, I had my first ever book launch event, for my first ever novel, Courting Anna.  It was a wonderful experience!

Although the novel came out at the end of July, there were a number of reasons to delay the event.  First, I live in New York City, and everyone who possibly can, spends as little time as possible here in August.   Second, I had an amazing venue, an early-19th century NeoGothic church . . . but the place isn’t air conditioned and here we circle back to the issues with NYC in August, aka potential heatwaves in the concrete jungle.  Third and most important, I needed to find a date when both the church and my “in conversation” partner, gaslamp fantasy novelist 
Leanna Renee Hieber, were available. 

photo by Marty Woess, Sharp Teeth Photography

We got the word out via social media and local press (when the New York Times is your local paper, that means neighborhood press instead!), but though we had a good crowd, in the end it was all friends turning out to support me.  Still, that turned any potential jitters into a very comfortable situation, as Leanna asked me questions and we talked about my book, her books, our writing process, and our beloved 19th century.  We each did a brief reading (me from Courting Anna and Leanna from her most recent, The Spectral City) and then took questions, which led to a really interesting back-and-forth with the audience.  And then we adjourned for snacks and chat, and of course book signings!

I’m pleased to say that I sold completely out of my author’s copies, while some of the folks who already had the book brought them to be signed.  Courting Anna bookmarks were also popular, and meant that friends who'd bought the ebook version could still take away a signed memento.

My first signing!  Photo by author friend Joseph R. Kennedy

The site, St. Peter’s Chelsea, an Episcopal Church which was built on land donated by Clement Clarke Moore (you might know a little something he wrote that begins with “’Twas the night before Christmas . . . “), was the perfect venue.  It’s a stunning building, one of the first NeoGothic structures in North America, consecrated in 1838, and has quite a storied history.  It was an especially wonderful venue to appear with Leanna, who is also an actress (Boardwalk Empire, among other things) and a licensed ghost tour guide, and who does her author appearances in Victorian mourning dress.

Everyone – especially the friend from college days who came all the way from Philadelphia to attend! – contributed so much, but I wanted to end with a special shoutout to some of the authors who turned out.  Mary Sheeran is the author of three novels and will be making her Prairie Rose debut this winter.  Kris Waldherr’s Victorian gothic The Lost History of Dreams is not to be missed.  Sarah-Jane McKenna’s cozy mystery series is off to a great start!     

Especial thanks to Leanna Renee Hieber -- check out -- and St. Peter's Chelsea for working with me to make this happen!

Photo by Beyond My Ken - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Courting Anna is available on Amazon:

Connect with Cate Simon:

Website & Blog:
Newsletter:  via website
Twitter: @CateSimon3


p.s.  Just in case you're less fascinated than I am by Broadway historical rap musicals that I can't actually afford tickets to go and see, this is what my husband and I immediately thought of when we were going through the pictures from that evening and saw that first one: 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Book review: Yesterday's Flame by Livia J. Washburn


When smoke jumper Annabel Lowell's duties propelled her from San Francisco 2000 back to 1906, she faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. But she also finds the passion of a lifetime in fellow fireman Cole Brady. Now she must choose between a future of certain danger--and a present of certain love--no matter how short lived it may be...

My review:

With a tiny dash of mystical, Livia Washburn delivers an engrossing story filled with history and charm.

To keep herself safe from a fire disaster, Annabel seeks out refuge in a cave. However, her safe harbor turns out to be a time portal that whisks her back in time to 1906. It was a blast watching her acclimate to her surroundings - from the way she talked to how she dressed, to how women were perceived and how she should behave. Annabel quickly figured out how to toe the line between who she was as a woman, and who she needed to be to not get tossed in the asylum! She had no problem with pushing boundaries and proving herself, even to the delight and frustration of the man who caught her attention.

Cole Brady is a mix of refinement and down-to-earth gentleman. Balancing both the burden of a wealthy business and the calling of a fireman, finding Annabel at her most vulnerable allowed him to be exactly what she needed. He had his hands full with her and knew from the first moment he saw her, she was someone special to him - he just didn't know what to do with her all the time, as she wasn't like any other woman he ever encountered - and became a challenge he enjoyed.

I loved watching history come to life around the characters, and thus myself. In fact, I ended up googling more pictures and articles just to keep learning more. :)

Mix in a wonderful setting of early 1900s San Francisco city with real life history, a touch of suspense, and a lot of charm, you'll enjoy Yesterday's Flame.

Purchase Links:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Countdown to Kaye Spencer's Favorite Rodeo Song – Part 1 of 4 #rodeo #rodeosongs #prairierosepubs

July 4, 2019 marked the 150th anniversary of a rodeo in Deer Trail, Colorado. Deer Trail is proud to claim the honor of being “world’s first rodeo. In fact, The Handbook of Texas Online states: “One of the earliest 'bronco-busting contests' on record was held on July 4, 1869, in Deer Trail, Colorado Territory.*

Thinking about the Deer Trail rodeo took me back through the years, and I consequently spent a good deal of time reminiscing about my own rodeo years.

During my teenage years and into my early twenties, my best friend was part of a family of small-circuit rodeo-ers. This family and my parents were friends during their school years, so rodeo was part of our collective entertainment. Although, my dad didn’t ride saddle broncs much past his early twenties, my family rarely missed attending a rodeo that was within a day’s drive from home.

From about age 14 through 21, I didn’t miss attending these three rodeos:

*The Brush Rodeo in Brush, Colorado, which is ten miles from where I grew up in Fort Morgan. The Brush rodeo began in 1954. I was the Brush rodeo queen when I was 16. The Brush Rodeo Facebook page is HERE

If I locate a picture of me as a Brush Rodeo queen, I’ll include it in a later post.

*The Deer Trail Rodeo in Deer Trail, Colorado, which is about 70 miles straight south of Fort Morgan. The Deer Trail Rodeo Facebook Page is HERE. 

Colorado Map - Deer Trail and Fort Morgan marked in red and blue respectively**

 *Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming, which is 100 miles from Fort Morgan. Website Here

Quick anecdote: When I was the Brush Rodeo Queen, I participated in the Cheyenne Frontier Days parade and in the rodeo arena parade. At that time, visiting queens weren’t allowed to bring their own horses, so horses were supplied by rodeo cowboys.

Fast forward thirty-ish years to my job as Director of Exceptional Student Services for 13 school districts…

One evening, and in the midst of deep conversation in the hotel’s bar at an educational conference, one of the school superintendents I worked with and I discovered he was the cowboy who loaned me his horse for those parades all those years ago. (Yes, I know, TMI.)

Back to the title of this article and rodeo songs.

In the course of my reminiscing, rodeo songs naturally cropped up, and I spent a few minutes… okay… hours… on YouTube searching for, and listening to, rodeo songs. Consequently, I decided to write this four part article leading up to my favorite rodeo song. I’ve chosen my seven favorite rodeo songs, which I will share in similarly themed pairs, until the last post, which will focus on my favorite rodeo song.

Now for Numbers 6 and 7…

While one of these songs isn’t technically a rodeo song in that it doesn’t take place inside a rodeo arena, bronc riding is a rodeo event and that’s good enough for me. Pay attention to the similar theme in these two songs. In fact, the lyrics are quite similar.

Number 7
Bad Brahma Bull - Chris LeDoux

Number 6
Strawberry Roan - Marty Robbins

What are your favorite rodeo songs?

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

You can find Kaye here:

Amazon Author Page | BookBub | Blog | Twitter | Pinterest


** “Large Detailed Roads and Highways Map of Colorado State with All Cities: Colorado State: USA: Maps of the USA: Maps Collection of the United States of America.” Maps of All States, Regions and Cities of the United States of America | Maps of the USA,

*Handbook of Texas Online, Sylvia Gann Mahoney, "RODEOS," accessed September 10, 2019, 

Bull and Rodeo Clown images: - author purchased license
Bronc image: - photographer beat0092

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

September Reading – Historical Western Romances

By Kristy McCaffrey

September beckons us forward with the anticipation of fall leaves and crisp autumn air, and it’s the perfect time to settle in for some reading.

If you’re looking for an old west novel with a spunky heroine, a stalwart and somewhat brooding hero, three bumbling hooligans, a wolf named Bart, and the presence of a Navajo elder who may or may not be real, then please check out my full-length historical western romance INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS.

Arizona Territory 1893
Kate Kinsella has no choice but to go after Charley Barstow and talk some sense into him. After all, he's skipped town, leaving a string of broken hearts and his pregnant fiancée, Agnes McPherson. But Kate didn't count on being kidnapped by a band of criminals along the way!

Ethan Barstow is hot on his younger brother's trail, too. He rescues Kate, believing her to be Charley's fiancée, and suggests they try to find him together. Kate's reluctance has him baffled.

All hell breaks loose when they discover Charley in search of a copper mine—not wishing to be found by anyone; certainly not Kate! But, then, Kate was always trouble—and now she's brought it to his doorstep, with tales of a pregnant fiancée and his brother Ethan, who he hasn't seen in five years.

Can Ethan and Kate ever find their own love and happiness with one another through the dark deception and hurt? Or will they both return INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS...

Available at AMAZON

“With a vividly painted background, engaging and compelling characters and pages that just fly by, Into The Land Of Shadows is a superb read for any western or historical romance lover.”
            ~ Wendy, Romance Junkies

“…as if ‘Romancing The Stone’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and ‘Dances With Wolves’ got together and had a kid.” ~ Armenia, Reading Alley

A short excerpt from INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS

“Smells like trouble, Whiskey.”

Ethan Barstow reined in his horse and the mare shook her head. From the cover of a band of pine trees, he had an open view of a clearing just below their hillside lunch break. A light breeze caressed the yellow tufts of grass and a startled coyote ran for cover in the distance.

Whiskey snorted and flattened her golden-brown ears. Ethan adjusted the brim of his hat and waited.

The distant sound of hoof beats became audible and a head bobbed into view over the crest of the open countryside. A torso soon appeared and then a donkey, toting the whole package and doing its best to move quickly.

Ethan frowned.

It was a woman. She wore a hat with a string cinched tight to her chin; her bouncing upper body was covered with a dark blouse and brown hair flowed behind her. She would have been a vision to behold if she hadn’t been moving up and down in the animal’s saddle like a woodpecker attacking a virgin tree.

The woman’s head whipped around to look behind her and Ethan followed her line of sight.

Three men on horseback materialized.

“Not a fair chase,” Ethan murmured.

If you’re more in the mood for a quick read, then check out these short novellas.


Grand Canyon 1898
In search of her brother, Annabel Cross enters Grand Canyon with a guide and a mule. When circumstances have her hanging from a cliff side, her rescue at the hands of U.S. Deputy Marshal Angus Docherty is fortuitous in more ways than one. He’s chasing the notorious Red Bandit, and it soon becomes clear that Annabel’s brother is mixed up with the criminal as well. While the marshal believes she may be in on a double-cross, she has a more pressing secret to hide. She can talk to deceased spirits, and she wonders whether to tell Angus about the old Apache ever near to him.

Available at AMAZON


Arizona Territory 1872
Lily Kingston has long loved Mesquite Joe Riordan, but when he doesn’t step forward to protest her betrothal to another man—arranged by her papa—her heart breaks. When Joe is blamed for the murder of a ranch hand and disappears, Lily knows exactly where to find him. Facing the truth of his past will test her resolve, but only her stubbornness can win his heart.

Available at AMAZON


Colorado 1888
When aspiring novelist Amelia Mercer travels from New York City to Colorado, the stagecoach is robbed and her luggage stolen. Bounty hunter Ned Waymire comes to her aid, seeking to impress the independent young woman.

Available at AMAZON

These stories are also available in Kindle Unlimited.

Connect with Kristy

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Steamboat Arabia

163 years ago on September 5, the Steamboat Arabia struck a submerged tree trunk and sank.

From the St. Louis Republican newspaper, September 9, 1856:  
"The officers of the LIghtning Line packet Cataract inform us of the sinking of the steamer Arabia in the Missouri River, one mile below Parkville [Missouri]. She went down in fifteen feet of water. The accident occurred on Friday evening at 8 o'clock. The Arabia was on her way to Council Bluffs and Omaha City with a good trip of freight and passengers. It is said the boat will be a total loss - some of the freight may be saved in a damaged condition. The Cataract went alongside the Arabia and took off some of the cabin furniture, and what freight was on the boiler deck, and put it off at Parkville. The Arabia was owned by Captain Terrell, her commander, and Mr. Boyd, clerk. She had been running several years and was probably worth $10,000. We presume she was insured, but have not learned to what amount." 

The Arabia was a typical western steamboat. A twin side-wheel steamer, she was built long and flat to carry maximum cargo. Measuring 171 feet long, with three decks and a wheelhouse above the water line, she plied the waters of the mighty Missouri River, pushing upstream at more than 5 miles per hour.

The 200 tons of supplies she carried were bound for general stores and pioneer settlements to the north and west.

On August 30, she left St. Louis headed for Sioux City, Iowa, by way of Kansas (present-day Kansas City, MO), Weston (MO), St. Joseph (MO), and Council Bluffs (IA).  The Missouri River was wide and shallow and her rushing muddy waters hid dangerous snags—tree trunks that had fallen into the water when the river undercut their roots. Going full steam upriver against the current the Arabia struck the trunk of a large submerged walnut tree that smashed her hull open. She sank fast, until only the wheelhouse was visible, and that quickly broke up in the current.

All the 130 passengers and crew got off safely, but the cargo was buried in sand and mud at the bottom of the Missouri. Over the years, the river changed course with the floods and dry times, layering the site of the wreck under successive years of dirt. When the Arabia was finally located in 1986, she lay in a farmer’s corn field half a mile from the current river’s course and under 45 feet of dirt—and below the water table.

It took 4 months and twenty (20) irrigation wells pumping out up to 20,000 gallons of water per minute to get to the Arabia. A team of family and friends brought up boxes, barrels and crates of frontier merchandise, both necessities and available luxuries, items meant for General Stores all along the river: castor oil, needles, nutmegs, windowpanes, brass and silver locks and keys, eyeglasses, syrup bottles, rubber overshoes and wedding bands; jars of pickles that were still edible (yes, one of the team tried one); French perfume that still held it’s scent thanks to the ambergris that was a main ingredient; carpenter’s tools; a Frozen Charlotte figurine; buttons and scissors; even over one million Venetian glass beads meant as trade goods.

Today, in Kansas City, Missouri, there is a unique museum, built to house the Arabia and the artifacts that have been recovered. Set as a cornerstone for the River Market—a gathering of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, seeds, hand-me-downs, bbq and some rather fine coffee—the Arabia Steamboat Museum offers a wonderful glimpse into life on the frontier in the middle of the 19th century.

The museum was built specifically to house this collection and it's still a work in progress. Though there are thousands of items already cleaned and displayed, the lab runs almost daily, cleaning, preserving and cataloging the amazing number of artifacts. The latest estimate is another fifteen years of work await the lab techs on the Arabia’s cargo. And last year they found another steamboat buried in another farmer’s field.

You can watch as a boot is coated with preservative so it won’t dry out after a century under water. You can dab on a bit of the French perfume that their scientists recreated from the bottles found among the cargo (minus the ambergris, thank goodness).

Much of my River's Bend series came from my visit to the Steamboat Arabia Museum. If you’re ever in Kansas City, I highly recommend this museum. I know we’ll be returning soon—there was just too much to see in one visit.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book review: Courting Anna by Cate Simon

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Beautiful Anna Harrison has carved out her life as a small-town lawyer. Brilliantly intelligent and fiercely independent, a female attorney of her caliber is quite the oddity in 1880s Montana Territory! After losing her fiancé years before, she guards her heart as carefully as her treasured independence—until outlaw Jeremiah Brown comes into her life. Throwing caution to the wind is not in Anna—but what can one night with her handsome client hurt? He’s leaving town the next day…

Jeremiah Brown has been working hard to come clean and dodge bounty hunters who know him as Tommy Slade until the statute of limitations runs out on his past crimes. Though he’s irresistibly drawn to Anna, he’s well aware that sleeping with his beautiful attorney is a deadly game to play, even if it’s only “just” one night. Still, how can he resist?

But Fate has different plans for them, and they find themselves falling in love against their better judgment. How can they have a future with a price still on Jeremiah’s head? And how can Anna find happiness as a wife without losing her own hard-won independence? When circumstances spiral out of their control, they both discover that love is the most important thing of all.

In the courtroom, in the wilderness, and in the face of scandal, Jeremiah’s biggest challenge is Courting Anna.

My Review:

With engaging characters and terrific world building, Courting Anna quickly captured my attention and kept me coming back for more till I reached the last page.

I loved the presence Anna had - she knew her strengths and weaknesses, had confidence in herself, and embraced who she was, even as much as it went against the "norms of society" at that time. It was fun being in her shoes and facing some of her challenges.

Jeremiah Brown was appealing in his sense of honor, loyalty, and risk taking. He was immediately drawn to Anna but knew that no matter how much he may be intrigued by her, some things weren't meant to be. However, he's also a stubbornly determined man and decided she was worth the time and whatever risk to keep her in his life - I think he really liked the challenge in Anna.

The two complimented each other well with what they needed and gave to the other, and their unspoken deeper connection.  There were also several secondary characters who played significant rolls, growing along with the main characters and providing their own surprises, both for themselves and towards Anna and Jeremiah.

If you're looking for a book that features a strong heroine, a charming hero, a touch of mystery, a challenging relationship/setting, interesting drama and twists, and a happily-ever-after, this book will satisfy!

Purchase Links:


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Internet Etiquette: “Netiquette” #MissMannersIsWatching

I grew up in a world without computers, cell phones, Internet of any kind unless you count short wave radio; not even calculators. We had telephones with long, curled wires to allow us to move around in the kitchen when we talked on the phone or, during my teenage years, a wire long enough to take the phone in the closet for private conversations away from the big ears of my parents. The only conference calls we had was on phone extensions if you lived in a house with more than one phone or had a phone with a party line (more than one household using the same line.) Etiquette was fairly easy back then: answer the phone politely, ask who is calling, whoever called was the one to end the call (etiquette according my dad) and too bad if they wanted to talk on and on, and ending a call was also to be polite. Some families answered the phone by a greeting and then announcing the surname of the family. (example: Hello, this is the McNeal Residence, may I help you?)

Well, things have changed. First there was e-mail. No one knew what the rules were in the beginning, so it was an anything goes situation. My first publisher was considered innovative for offering e-books. An author’s book had to make a certain sales amount before the book was published in paperback. There was no “Publish On Demand” back then so the publisher had to curtail the cost involved with paperbacks by selecting only those authors who had proven their worth. (I wasn’t one of them.) Keep in mind this was before Amazon changed the world with Kindle. Good luck finding anything to read those e-books from other than a computer. What a drag. Anyway, like most publishers there was a private e-mail line for authors and publishers. Since there was no established etiquette for e-mail, people said whatever they wanted. I remember the day some of the authors were perturbed with how the publisher was handling things and complained about the lack of communication between the authors and the publisher. Things got heated. When I say heated, I mean scorch your eyes out heated. The publisher was as rude and antagonistic as the authors. In the end, the authors left en mass demanding the rights to their work back. I was so disturbed by the way all of this was handled by the publisher on a public forum even though I did not participate, that I quietly waited for my contracts to end and snuck out the back door. The once reputable and innovative publisher still exists today, but is a tattered, pale relic of its former glory after this rude behavior on a public forum.

Yahoo groups were once very popular. Authors and readers gathered into these groups to share ideas and excerpts and converse. There were times when people behaved badly even though, by then, groups published rules for on line behavior. Some excerpts posted contained very descriptive sex scenes and covers that left nothing to the imagination. Yahoo has made it next to impossible to post covers other than in attachments and yahoo groups have given notice that all excerpts must have a rating. Good news since there are some young people in those groups.

Since Facebook made its way to the public it has become a great platform for writers, but once again, the lack of etiquette has caused some problems. We call them trolls, those anonymous people who join a conversation and feel free to say degrading and negative things, call people names, and then disappear. But there are other abuses to etiquette on Facebook mostly due to a lack of understanding the correct behavior in this public forum.

Have you ever had another author blatantly use your Facebook page to advertise their work? Usually they do this when they are either accepting a friend request or thanking you for accepting their friend request—and then you wish you hadn’t when the cover of their latest book and buy tags show up with that thank you. Then there are those who post a thank you sometimes with a giant picture on your post instead of using private messaging. This is particularly annoying if you’ve just posted something on your page. I don’t usually do anything about this kind of post because I don’t think it’s intentionally meant to cause discord. Friend requests are sometimes from people believing somehow that Facebook is a dating site. Ugh!

Twitter is popular, but I have noticed people are quite free with their rude and indelicate remarks on this platform, especially regarding politics and opinions. I’m still getting the hang of hash tags so I’m not a Twitter expert, but I still recognize bad behavior and etiquette. But from what I’ve seen, Twitter almost invites poor etiquette.

So what are some actual rules about etiquette, or I should say, Netiquette? I did some research and here are a few rules I found for proper behavior on line:

1.  Use simple electronic signatures are enough

2.  Do not cross post (post the same message over many channels)

3.  Stay on topic

4.  Do not hijack a thread (my pet peeve)

5.  Do not bash someone or start a flame war

6.  Try not to use all caps because it may look like you’re shouting

7.  Since expression and tone are absent, be sure you make your intent known. Use an emoticon to show your expression or intent or employ an abbreviation such as LOL (laugh out loud) or BRB (be right back), etc.

8.  Minor misspellings or mistakes do not need your comment. If it is a major error, make your comment using basic courtesy or by private message (which is what I would prefer.)

9.  This is a personal peeve of mine: when you make a friend request, please don’t let your next request be for them to like your page. It gives the impression it was your sole purpose for the friend request instead of a common interest or belief.

10.  Above all, be kind.


For further reading about Netiquette:

Zen and the Art of the Internet:

Matthew Strawberg’s Webblog 2009  The rules of netiquette

Diverse stories filled with heart




My Amazon Author’s Page

Prairie Rose Author Page

The Wildings

Prairie Rose Blog

Fantasy & Dreams Blog

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Many Faces of the Mistress.

The Many Faces of the Mistress

C.A. Asbrey 
"Who am I? I'm the Mistress of this ere 'ouse and this s the young Squire."

I'm speaking to the female readers here. What do they call you? What title do you like to use? Do you hide your marital status, or wear it proudly? I know someone who uses her maiden name with her title of doctor. When asked why she doesn't take his married name she says quite simply, "Because my husband doesn't have a medical degree." 

I use both my maiden and married names as it suits me. I always have. I see no contradiction in it as I can be different personas in different spheres. I performed different roles in both. I built up a reputation in work, using my maiden name, so I continued to use it there. Socially, I was quite happy to use my married name, as that reflected how people saw me in that world. I see no problem with it, and I didn't consider that it diminished my husband in any way. Nor did he. In many ways keeping my work life separate to my domestic life was a good thing. I didn't see that using my married name diminished me either, as I was quite happy to be identified as a married woman. I understand why some women think otherwise, and use only their own name at all times. That one-size-fits-all doesn't allow for individual expression, and I'm all for us accepting differences of opinion.  

This 1698 tax list from Shrewsbury records the most prominent persons in the district first: William Prince Esqr, Mm [Madam] Elizabeth Prince Wdd [widow], Mm Mary Prince Wdd, Ms [mistress] Mary her daughter, Mm Judeth Prince, Mr Philip Wingfield, and Ms Gertrude Wingfield [who is either the wife or the sister or the daughter of Mr Wingfield above]. The women who follow are recorded only by their first and last name, with no prefix. Ms is used here for an unmarried women (Mary Prince) and for a woman whose marital status is unspecified (Gertrude Wingfield). Madam appears to be used here for married or widowed women of social standing.

With so many opinions we now have so many options, but it was it really so simple in the past? There is a belief in some quarters that women have always taken their husband's name, and that unmarried women were identified by the title of miss. But the truth is way more complex, and also depends on the country. I am Scottish. To this very day Scottish women legally retain their own name for life. Marriages are entered on legal documents as an alias. For instance my character's name of Mrs. Quinn would be written in Scotland as Abigail MacKay alias Stewart alias Quinn. Stewart was the name of her first husband who died, and the aliases are legally posted in order. 

Missus, abbreviated to Mrs., was originally a term for a woman who was your social superior. It was the female version of master, and did not reflect marital status in any way. Right up to the 18th century it could mean a married or unmarried woman. True to the misogyny of the time, it could also reflect a woman of dubious sexual character, depending on context. Many insults aimed specifically at women were designed to keep her in her place, but derive from perfectly innocent titles. For example, hussy, was a diminutive of housewife. Dame, queen, madam, and even girl, can all be used to diminish a woman  or act as a warning not to get above herself. Samuel Johnson's dictionary of 1755,  captured this duality when he defined mistress as: “1. A woman who governs; correlative to subject or servant; 2 A woman skilled in anything; 3. A woman teacher; 4. A woman beloved and courted; 5. A term of contemptuous address; 6. A whore or concubine.”

Many women called themselves 'Missus' simply because they ran a home, or staff. It was customary for the woman running the kitchen of a large home to be called 'Missus' as a work title right into the 20th century. It had no bearing on their marital status.

Historians generally agree that the usage of 'Miss' became a way to identify marriageable females, not because it was forced on them by men. Socially ambitious society ladies had to find an easy way to communicate quickly and easily that they were available. They also wanted to be different to the businesswomen, and the upper servants, who used the title 'Missus'. This trend was both fuelled by, and reflected by, the novels of the 1740s onwards which featured young gentry 'Misses' and upper (single) servants titled 'Mrs.'. The boundaries remained blurry right up to the 20th century. 'Mrs.' did not definitively mean a married woman until around 1900.  Married women being called by their husband's full name was also to reflect status – as in Mrs John Dashwood (Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, 1811). It was used, particularly by upper class women, to establish seniority among women who shared the same surname. England in the early 19th century was the only place in Europe where a woman took her husband’s surname. As I pointed out earlier, it was not even routine throughout all of the British Isles.   
Over the 19th century, this method of referring to women gradually extended to all married women, as both Mr and Mrs were gradually used to people of every social class. Mrs progressively lost its usage to distinguish social standing until only its marital meaning remained. By the 20th Century. only upper servants still used the nomenclature of Mrs when unmarried.

Titles of any sort were an indication of social status until at least the middle of 19th century. Most women had no prefix at all, and were simply called by their name. Those at the bottom of the servant's pecking order were even lucky to to be called their name. Quite often they were referred to by their position, such as 'Tweenie' (a between maid) or  'Stoorie' (an under maid - stoor being an old word for dust - indicating that they got all the dirtiest jobs). The housemaids would be 'Maggie' or 'Betty' or whatever their name was, while the housekeeper got to be called Missus. The woman of the house was referred to by her social title, and her married name changed to that of her husband.  

Today it is often assumed that women taking the man's full name is a remnant of centuries of subjugation. It wasn't, but it was already meeting challenges by the 1840s, only 40 years after the fashion began. Throughout the 20th century it got a much more hostile reaction when it was seen an oppressive removal of a woman's identity. By the 21st century, it has all but gone.

'Ms.' is hated by some, but it's much older than people think. It was first proposed in a US newspaper editorial in 1901 to solve the problem of not knowing how to address a woman because of not knowing her marital status. It never really caught on until the 1960s and 1970s, when more and more women didn't want to be identified by the man in their life, or by the lack of one 

It's more than a little ironic that 'Ms.' restored the original function of 'Mrs.' – and that it's just one of the many 17th-century abbreviations for Mistress. We appear to have come full circle.
Innocent Bystander EXCERPT
A vacant-looking man with prominent yellow teeth walked into her field of vision, striding beyond the blinding sun and dragged her roughly from the horse. She had expected to be searched and had ruthlessly bound her body with bandages to try to flatten and conceal her breasts, but the man merely patted down her sides before turning his attentions to her jacket. He pulled out the pistol which had been loosely placed in her pocket and slapped his way down her legs. She was instantly glad she had foregone the Derringer she usually wore at her ankle. A concealed weapon was too risky.
“He’s clean.”
“Well, boy. It seems like you’re gonna get your wish, but if you’ve been messin’ with us and you ain’t Quinn’s kin, you’re gonna regret it. He don’t like to be messed with.”
Abigail felt her arms grabbed as she was roughly turned around and her carefully dirtied hands were bound behind her back, the rope biting deeply into her skin as it was pulled tight. They must have seen her wince as it provoked a chorus of laughter which rang in her ears.
“Looks like this life’s a bit too rough for you, sonny.”
 A thick, smelly bag was thrust over her head, obliterating the world, before she was lifted back onto her little colt and she felt herself led off to face the rest of the gang.