Friday, September 29, 2017

What's The Crisis by Sophie Dawson

What's the Crisis?
Sophie Dawson

I’ve noticed recently that most of my novels have some crisis dealing with a health issue of some kind. I think there are several reasons for this. One, I’m a doctor’s kid. Not that my dad talked about any of his patients or cases, but growing up medical topics were just there. Plus, I find them interesting.

Another, and probably more pertinent reason, is the emotional connection we as readers can have with the characters who are going through crises of health. They are common and familiar to us. We can identify with a loved one having an accident. We can feel the fear of a mother terrified her child will succumb to an illness. We know the helplessness of watching someone whither and die far too young from cancer. 

These types of circumstances pull at me more than having a bad guy or guys attack the main characters. I don’t have experience with evil in that form, so it’s not something I am comfortable writing (although I have and will). It might be those sort of situations just scare me too much so I don’t want to write them. I’m pretty much a wuss and proud of it. 

19th Century Stethoscope
Today, we don’t have the same fears as the characters of the era Sweet Americana Sweethearts novels. Medicine of early and pre-1900 was still pretty primitive. Even then, the idea of germs was not a totally accept concept. President McKinley most likely died as a result of an infection from the gunshot rather than the bullet itself. His physician didn’t believe in germ theory. 
Photo from Wikicommons
Things we take totally for granted were just being developed in the 19th century. Stethoscopes were in their infancy in the 1870’s. The medical thermometer wasn’t invented until the 1880’s and wouldn't have been in common use until much later. Anesthesia was new and often made the patient quite ill or, if not used in the proper manner, led to death. Antibiotic properties were not discovered until the early 1900’s. It took until after World War II for them to become prevalent and commonly used.

Cabin used for quarantine in Wyoming in the 1890's. Wikicommons.
The diseases we generally vaccinate against today led to deadly epidemics before the 1960’s. In my most recent release, Laundry Lady’s Love, a measles epidemic descends on Stones Creek. In some towns only 1 in 10 survived the measles. The threat of death coming to any of the children and other residents was real, and measures of containment were primitive at best. I can remember being under quarantine, restricted to in the house, with a red Quarantine sign in the window while my sister and I had both measles and mumps. Yeah, I’m giving you a clue to my age.

Even though my sons never had an illness or accident that was life threatening, as I wrote the epidemic, and some of its consequences, I was moved to tears by the fear and sorrow my characters were going through. I’m a mother. I can identify. I, not only can imagine their emotions, but I can go through them myself because illness and accident can visit itself upon us at any moment. 

Even though, in our modern world, we can successfully conquer most health issues, the emotions we go through are the same as those of yesteryear. Laura’s fear for Eddie and Mark, Hank’s fear for Laura, Hank going to Massot requesting another casket be built. Those resonate with each of us. We feel what the character feels. Isn’t that what we want out of our stories? At least it is for me.

You can find Laundry Lady's Love on Amazon.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Where the Buffalo Roam ~ Or Bison

Buffalo ~ no other animal symbolizes the American West better than the Buffalo. Or to the technical scientific types - Bison.
Taken at Yellowstone National Park
This brings to light the clash
between history and modern science and nomenclature. 

But then the word buffalo evolved from the French trappers who called them Beofs - meaning oxen.

Even if the thing is a Bison, it will always be a buffalo to me. After all, Where the Bison roam is just not as catchy as buffalo. 

And there is the song Buffalo Gals, certainly much better than Bison girls.

Buffalo, New York. Buffalo wings. 

We love the word Buffalo!!!

And then there are the buffalo hunters, and the famous Buffalo Bill. Can you imagine calling him Bison Bill. No me either.

If you are ever in Cody, Wyoming, take time to visit the museum. It is amazing and has rooms and floors of historical items from wildlife, exhibits about the Indians, a large collection of guns and rifles. (My husband loved that room.) And of course about Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show. 

Experts estimate that there were 60 million buffalo before the 1800s by 1900 they were down to 300 and almost gone. Today their numbers have increased to half a million. 

I find it fascinating to think about such a large animal numbering in the millions and covering states. That had to be a truly amazing sight.

The buffalo figured prominently in the history of our country. They were a major food source for the Native Americans. Because of the war against the Native Americans, the military wiped out many of the shaggy beasts to help defeat the tribes.
They were also killed for meat to feed the railroad workers, and for their shaggy coats. 

We can all be grateful for those who saw the near extinction and strove to save the American buffalo. Early ranchers were the first to begin trying to save the animal from extinction. 
But in a twist of fate, it was Buffalo Bill Cody who probably had the greatest result in saving the beast through showing millions live buffalo in his Wild West Shows. 

Hope you have enjoyed a little about the buffalo and the West where he roamed. 
Patricia PacJac Carroll
I write sweet historical western romances.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

*Practical* Knowledge of the 1800s

(necessary disclaimer... because I need you to know 1) I have NOT tested this receipts/recipes/helpful hints so if you want to try them out I can't say how they'll turn out or even if they are safe to try (these were from the late 1800s where things like asbestos were 'amazing' things and 2) receipts is an antiquated form of the word recipe and what it's called in these period books, so that's why I use that word to describe them)

Along with the instructions on starch for clothing and jams, or a stew, you might find such practical information as to how to revive a drowned person... or aid someone suffering with Cholera. In the 1800s they didn't have the corner 24 hour drug store, or urgent care. EMTs? Nope. Sometimes the only people they could count on to 'save' those they loved... were themselves.

These two gems were included in one of my bound editions of a Ladies Magazine from the late 1800s...

What would you think of these instructions?


To Recover Drowned Persons. – First empty the stomach, etc., of water. To do this, place the patient face downward, put a roll of something hard under the pit of the stomach, so that it is above the level of the mouth, and then press with force on the back. Afterward, to set up artificial breathing, instead of the partial rolling of the body, or the pumping action of the arms, now practiced, lay the body upon the back, with the clothes stripped down to the waist. The pit of the stomach is now raised to the highest point by something under the back. A bundle of clothing, or the body of another man will do for this. The head is thrown back, and the tongue must be drawn forward by an assistant, so as to keep open the entrance to the air tubes. The hands are passed above the head, the wrists crossed, and the arms kept firmly extended. In this position the chest is fully expanded. The operator then kneels astride the body, places his hands on the lower part of the ribs, and steadily and gradually makes compression. Balancing on his knees, he inclines himself forward till his face nearly touches that of the patient, and so lets fall the whole weight of his body upon the chest. When this had yielded as much as it will, he throws himself back by a sudden push to his first erect position of kneeling, and the elastic ribs, by their expanding bellows action, draw air into the lungs. These maneuvers must be repeated regularly, twelve of fifteen times in the minute.


Dysentery Cholera Cordial. – Two ounces tincture cayenne, one ounce spirits camphor, one ounce tincture rhubarb, two ounces essence peppermint, two ounces best brandy, two drachms laudanum. Dose for an adult, one teaspoonful every hour until relief is obtained.

Interesting, yes ?  Misguided? I wouldn't know... but keep in mind that I have NOT tried either remedy.

Next month... I'm going to give you the option... What would you like to learn about Receipts/Recipes for Meat? Vegetables? Or... do you want to know how readers of this ladies magazine learned how to remove RATS from their homes?

If I select your 'request' for the next post, you'll win an ebook from my list -

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Revised Release Day: DEAD SET DELPHINIA by Zina Abbott

Today was to be the release day for 
Dead Set Delphinia 
by Zina Abbott
Book 11 in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series 

Stuff happens.

In this case, my story I thought would be 25-30 thousand words is closer to 68 thousand words--and counting. For those who like to read longer, more involved novels, I hope you enjoy the final product.

By the time I should have uploaded it on Amazon, I did not have time to clean it up all pretty and give it a good final line editing.

The revised release day will be Saturday, September 30th. The release will be announced on my Zina Abbott Books blog.

This has turned into one of my favorite stories. I hope my readers agree it is worth the wait.

About Dead Set Delphinia: 

          Being pressured by her father to marry his New York business associate whom she detests, Delphinia Blakewell, using the alias Delia Brownlee, secretly starts a correspondence with two miners in Jubilee Springs she contacted through the Colorado Bridal Agency. After her letters are discovered by her father, her mother sees to it she is confined to her room for three months. Only when she agrees to the wedding is she allowed more freedom—freedom that leads to a startling discovery about her supposed fiancĂ©. 
          Delphinia flees to Colorado, using another alias, Sarah Brown, only to discover one miner she wrote to married another, and the other was killed in a shootout. However, she is dead set on being married and in her own home to avoid what awaits her should her father track her down. She wants to find her own miner to marry, but the owner of the bridal agency has other ideas.
        Bennett Nighy makes furniture for his store in Jubilee Springs. He also makes caskets, and, by default, has assumed the job of town mortician. He enjoys his solitude. He is dead set on not complicating his life by getting married. However, he is terrible at keeping books, helping customers choose the proper furniture pieces for their homes and he could use some help preparing the town’s female decedents for burial. Still, he might have been able to continue muddling through life on his own if only he hadn’t attended the town’s harvest dance.


Bennett refused to allow his jaw to drop open at the audacity of this woman he had met but minutes before. She had swooped into his furniture store, ordered him to have his showroom cleaned up by a certain time, and dictated to him how to arrange his furniture pieces. It wasn’t that he found anything objectionable in how she said to set up the groupings. It was the issue it was his store, and he had been muddling along just fine in spite of the dust and disorganization without her telling him what to do. Who did miss big-money socialite from the big eastern city she refused to name think she was? He watched her stately steps enhanced by the flounce of her jacket over her bustle as she made her way to his door. Against his better judgment, he admired her every move. He waited until she reached for the doorknob before he spoke. “See you this evening, Miss Brown.”
Bennett bit back a smirk. She stopped mid-stride and stiffened as if offended. Next she spun on the toe of her boot to face him. He felt her disapproval radiate from her like the heat of a firestorm.
“Mr. Nighy, I meant ten-thirty in the morning. I do not entertain anyone for any reason ten-thirty at night.”
Bennett choked back a laugh. “I understand, Miss Brown. However, because I get tired of my own cooking, on Mondays and Thursdays when the Howard Boarding House tends to be slow, I have a standing appointment to take my evening meals with them. I will see you at supper.”

When Dead Set Delphinia is released, it will be at the release day sale price of $.99 through the weekend. Afterwards, the book will resume it regular price. It will also be available on Kindle Unlimited.

Zina Abbott has available three other novellas in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series.

Book 6:  Cat's Meow
Book 7:  Bargain Bessie
To read and enjoy all of the books in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series, please sign up and follow us on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.