Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday #7 - Teton Splendor

Sophia blinked back the tears of disbelief in her eyes. Even Lucy seemed at a loss for words, standing next to her. No one had ever defended her honor with such passion and conviction as this man, this rough-around-the-edges mountain man who was as out of place in her Boston home as a donkey in a barn full of thoroughbreds.  His head slowly turned and he glanced up the staircase. Their eyes met. Sophia stood still, her gaze locked on his. Her knees went weak and breathing became impossible. She gripped the bannister as if her life depended on it, and at that moment, Joseph Walker owned her heart. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award is a lovely sunny flower that bloggers give to other “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.

I was awarded the Sunshine Award by western romance author Paty Jager.

Here are the fun questions I was asked to answer:

Favorite Color: Royal Blue

Favorite Animal: Horse

Favorite Number: 17 – the day of my wedding anniversary, and one of my sons’ birthdays.

Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink: Tea - I have to have a cup in the morning after work, and it’s what I drink at work in the middle of the night. I gave up coffee a while ago, and now tea is my must-drink beverage.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook

Your Passion: (all together now) Yellowstone National Park

Giving or getting presents: I love giving gifts! I’m rather uncomfortable at receiving them.

Favorite Day: Mondays (my one “normal” day of the week)

Favorite Flowers: carnation

I am passing on the Sunshine Award to the following deserving bloggers:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Splendor #6

“I can’t believe I agreed to such an absolutely foolish undertaking, Miss Sophia. Your father must be out of his mind to allow you to go with that man. Why, he’s almost a savage himself.” Lucy ushered two young maids out the door as she spoke. Their job in helping with the packing was obviously done. She tangled with an elaborately embroidered petticoat, and finally managed to wrestle the garment into the already overstuffed trunk filled with a dozen chemise, corsets, petticoats, and at least three crinolines. She slammed the lid shut as if she expected the garments to make a hasty dash for freedom.
 Sophia cringed slightly when Lucy referred to Indians as savages. Dismissing her nagging thought that her maid might think of her in the same way, she said, “My father fully approves of  Mr. Walker, Lucy. He would never allow us to go with someone who wasn’t completely trustworthy.”
“Why you would want to leave Boston and head into uncharted wilderness is beyond my comprehension,” Lucy huffed. She secured the latch on the trunk and swiped a hand across her damp forehead. “There are nothing but bloodthirsty Indians and murdering scoundrels the further west one travels.”
“Well I will leave the decision up to you whether you want to accompany me,” Sophia said, and slipped her hand into a white glove. “You can unpack your trunk, and I’ll let my father know that I’ll be traveling by myself.”
Lucy stepped in front of her, one hand on her hip. She pointed a wagging finger at her, glowering with narrowed eyes. “If you believe for one moment that I’m going to let you go off alone to some godforsaken land with that . . . that man downstairs, you’re sorely mistaken, young lady. I spent the better part of twenty years looking after you, and I’m not going to shirk my duties now. Besides, someone has to make sure you come back to Boston.”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guest Author - Icy Snow Blackstone

Time to get introspective…

Icy Snow’s next novel’s coming out in June.  It’s a re-issue by Class Act Books of a novel formerly released by another publisher, and will be in both in Kindle and trade paperback.

That made me think about all the novels I’ve written as Icy Snow Blackstone, and that led to the following egotistical brag-fest.  After all, there just might be someone out there somewhere who actually is curious about The Compleat Icy Snow Blackstone Bibliography. Of course, there are probably just as many who couldn’t care less, but to coin an Old Southern phrase, “I’m not studying them.”  For this little bit of epistolatory edification (and can’t I use five-dollar words?) I’m concentrating on those of you with inquiring minds who really want to know.


In chronological order, those epistles are:

The Irish Lady’s Spanish Lover

They’re all romances, but there’s also a variety of subgenres here.  The Irish Lady’s Spanish Lover is a contemporary vampire story set in Ireland.  Gypsy Charm is paranormal, also, but a lighter version of the shapeshifting variety.  The Finer Gentleman is a futuristic romance with a dash of Regency.  Bargain with Lucifer and its sequel Brother Devil are contemporary romances of the almost-erotic, hot-and-heavy kind.  Runaway Brother is contemporary also but lighter with a few laughs included. Jericho Road is set in Georgia during the Vietnam era with plenty of Southern-style lovin’.

Seems like there’s something for everyone, doesn’t it?

This upcoming novel is called Three Moon Station. It’s what I like to term a SF Western because it takes place on another planet, a primitive place where the settlers own shuttles but use horses and wagons most of the time. They wear laser pistols on their hips, fight off rustlers, and sometimes justice is swift without calling in the Federation-appointed marshal.

Three Moon Station was inspired by a made-for-TV movie I saw in 1989. Murder on the Moon (also known as Murder by Moonlight), stared Brigitte Nielsen, Julian Sands, and Gerald McRaney, and was the tale of Soviet/US astronauts on the moon trying to solve a murder happening in their midst.  One thing striking me during the story was that back on Earth, a scientist is missing and one of the investigators says, “Why on Earth couldn’t we find him?  Because he isn’t on Earth.”  Or words to that effect.

That got me to thinking…if you were a witness to a crime and no place on Earth was safe for you, what could you do?  If you lived in a time of space travel, the answer’s  simple…you leave it.

That’s what Katy Rawls does after she witnesses a murder and is chased by hitmen because she has a vital piece of evidence.  It’s by accident, because Katy really intends to take a subway tram to the local police station but Fate and the fact that she doesn’t have her purse, sends her onto a train headed in the opposite direction, toward a shuttle bound for Tritomis-2. The train’s filled with women and Katy doesn’t find out until it’s too late that her fellow passengers are all prisoners, being sent to the pioneer planet as wives for the men living there.

She isn’t too happy about being put in stasis for four months, or the fact that the guards on the ship believe she’s a prisoner, too, a woman called Kathleen Rawls who robbed a bank, but she takes Kathleen’s place because she doesn’t want to be mowed down in a stream of laser-fire by the pursuing killers.

Here, I decided to take a bit from another movie, Westward the Women, a 1951 tale of “mail-order” brides…with a twist, of course.  Katy thinks the women are merely going to work as “domestics” in the homes of the men they leave with, so when Sarkin Trant pays for her and signs the contract given to him, she signs it, too.  Only when she arrives at his ranch does she realize he’s “bought” her to be his wife, and thereby hangs the rest of the tale…

“…an out of this world must read…so well written that it’s a bestseller contender, one that I would proudly display in my personal library.”—Long and Short Reviews

“If you like epic style romance that leaves you with warm fuzzies and a desire to revisit the characters, and who doesn’t, you’ll love 3 Moon Station.”--WRDR Review


       The lid slid upward and Katy opened her eyes, yawning and stretching. Sitting up, she swung her legs over the edge of the bunk, stifling another yawn and smiling as she saw Jessie and Cilla, fully dressed and seated on a little couch. “They changed their minds. I’m glad.”
       “What are you talking about? Cilla asked.
       “About putting us in stasis.”
       “We’ve been in stasis for four months,” the girl protested.
       Katy stared at her. Jessie nodded confirmation.
       “Jessie and I woke up about an hour ago. We thought we’d wait for you before we had breakfast.”
       “Glad you’re up.” Jessie’s voice was decidedly more friendly than it had been this morning…no, four months before.
       “We were beginning to worry,” Cilla went on. “But Officer St. Clair said some people take a little longer to come out of it than others.”
       “W-we’re really there?” Katy asked, hoping it wasn’t true. “We’re on Tritomis?”
       “We sure are.” Cilla caught Katy’s arm, pulling her to her feet. “Come on, let’s eat! I’m starved, aren’t you?”
       “Yes, I am,” she agreed, and surprised herself by giggling. “After all, I haven’t eaten anything in four months.”
       “Too bad it didn’t make me lose some of this.” Jessie slapped one full hip as she came up behind them, putting a hand on each girl’s shoulder. “Let’s go lay on the feedbags.”
       Katy’s legs were a little wobbly as she walked into the little living area. Once she stumbled slightly and Jessie caught her arm.
       “Just take it easy. Officer St. Clair explained that after four months of inactivity, our leg muscles might be a little weak. There’s an electrostimulator built into each bunk that’s supposed to prevent this but we’ll all have to watch how we walk for a few days.” She waved a hand at the little table and Katy saw that it held a tray with three plates filled with what looked like bacon and eggs and stacks of toast. Glasses of orange juice completed the picture.
       Releasing Katy, Jessie reached for a plate, handed a second to Cilla, then plopped herself down on the sofa, and proceeded to eat. Katy picked up the third plate and sat down also, balancing it on her knees as she reached for a fork.
       “So, tell me, Jessie…” She paused to lick bacon grease off her fingers. “Since we’re all in this together. What were you in for?” She hoped that was the right phrase. She’d heard it in a mystery vid one night.
       Jessie laughed. I was a cat burglar.”
       “What’s that?” Katy looked blank.
       “I robbed hotels, and relieved people who were too stupid to put their money and jewels in safes of those little valuables.” She picked up another piece of toast and smeared it liberally with jam from a small jar sitting on the table. “One night, I made the mistake of lifting a box full of jewelry from the girlfriend of some Federation bigwig. He pulled every string he could find and they caught me two hours later. I got ten years…five at hard labor.” Jessie shrugged and held up her hands, looking at her short, ragged nails. “Pounding those boulders into gravel for driveways really ruined my manicure. Then, this little opportunity presented itself, so…”
       She let the rest of the sentence trail away and took a bite of toast, chewing with relish.
       I certainly wouldn’t be so nonchalant about it if I’d been sentenced to ten years in prison, was all Katy could think. “How about you, Cilla?”
       “I’m afraid I’m not as notorious as Jessie.” The dark-haired girl studied her plate. “In fact, I’ve got a pretty routine story, I guess. I fell in with a bad crowd.” She stopped eating, pushing the eggs about her plate with her fork. “My parents are Traditional Naturals.”
       Katy looked surprised. Everyone knew about the Naturals, a cult which had settled in the Buffalo Commons, the vast abandoned grassland stretching from the border of Missouri and Iowa in an ellipse to North Dakota and Oklahoma and as far West as Montana. Practicing a way of living their ancestors in the mid-twentieth century had followed, they adhered to a harsher, more strict way of life.
       “You certainly aren’t following their ways,” Katy commented. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Natural being arrested.”         
       “That’s because most of them don’t do anything to get arrested,” the girl answered. “I won’t make excuses for myself. I met a young man. An Outsider. Thought he was wonderful, and later found out he wasn’t. When he robbed that roadside market, I was flying the car.” She sighed. “I got seven years as an accomplice because I had no previous record. Now, I’ve got a chance to redeem myself.”
       “Yeah,” Jessie agreed sarcastically, through a mouthful of toast. “This’ll definitely make you a law-abiding citizen again.”
       “It may be wrong to say it—but I don’t care what the Federation thinks of me,” Cilla answered. “I hurt my parents terribly and my coming to Tritomis will make it up to them. It means they’ll forgive me and I can be accepted into my family again.”
       “Cilla’s been shunned for her sins,” Jessie explained.
       For a moment, all three were silent. Then, Cilla laughed. “You know, technically, we can’t really be called Transportees, since we’re all doing this voluntarily.” She wrapped a strip of bacon around a morsel of toast and stuffed it into her mouth. “All except Katy here,” she added.
       Jessie picked up a piece of crust and began to sop the remnants of egg off her plate. “Maybe she won’t be so difficult after she sees what’s waiting for us.” There was a glitter of delight in her eyes.
Something about that mischievous twinkle made Katy ask, “And just what might that be?”
       “Men,” came the startling answer, slightly muffled by a mouthful of egg and toast. “A planet full of lonely men.”
       “M-men?” Katy nearly choked on her toast.     

Watch the video trailer for Three Moon Station here

Three Moon Station, re-edited with additional material, will be released in June by Class Act Books. It will be followed by In This Kingdom by the Sea in July. The third entry in the series is The Finer Gentleman.

Icy Snow’s links:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Splendor #5

Here is this week's teaser for Teton Splendor.

Joseph gave his horse a final pat on the neck, then left the stall. Coming to Boston had obviously been a big mistake. It was too late in the day to leave the city. He’d get an early start in the morning. The sooner he was away from here, the better. He wasn’t going back to that fancy house, either. After what happened this afternoon, he had most likely worn out his welcome.  Miss High and Mighty Society Princess wanted nothing to do with him or knowing more about where she came from.
Joseph scoffed. Hell, she wouldn’t last a day in the wilderness. The pampered way she’d been raised had spoiled her for the kind of life she would have had among her mother’s people. He couldn’t possibly present her to Two Bears looking and acting like the white woman she so obviously chose to be. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Author - Charlene Raddon


Food in the nineteenth century wasn’t as wholesome as man of us think. Contamination was rife, even among foods prepared at home, on the farm or ranch. Few understood about germs, bacteria and E. coli. Even then, food was tainted by foreign substances, chemicals, even fesses. By the 1840s, home-baked bread had died out among the rural poor and those living in small urban tenements, which were not equipped with ovens.

In 1872 Dr. Hassall, the main health reformer and a pioneer investigator into food adulteration, demonstrated that half of the bread he examined had considerable quantities of alum. While not poisonous itself, Alum could lower the nutritional value of foods by inhibiting the digestion. The list of poisonous additives from that time reads like the stock list of a wicked chemist:  strychnine, cocculus inculus (both hallucinogens), and copperas in rum and beer; sulphate of copper in pickles, bottled fruit, wine, and preserves; lead chromate in mustard and snuff; sulphate of iron in tea and beer; ferric ferrocynanide, lime sulphate, and turmeric in Chinese tea; copper carbonate, lead sulphate, bisulphate of mercury, and Venetian lead in sugar confectionery and chocolate; lead in wine and cider; all were extensively used and were accumulative in effect, resulting, over a long period, in chronic gastritis, and, indeed, often fatal food poisoning.

Dairies watered down their milk then added chalk to put back the color. Butter, bread and gin often had copper added to heighten the color. In London, where ice cream was called “hokey-pockey,” tested examples proved to contain cocci, bacilli, torulae, cotton fiber, lice, bed bugs, bug's legs, fleas, straw, human hair, cat and dog hair. Such befouled ice cream caused diphtheria, scarlet fever, diarrhea, and enteric fever. Meat purchased from butchers often came from diseased animals.

One of the major causes of infant mortality was the widespread practice of giving children narcotics, especially opium, to keep them quiet. Laudanum was cheap—about the price of a pint of beer—and its sale was totally unregulated until late in the century. In fact, the use of opium was widespread both in town and country. In Manchester, England, it was reported that five out of six working-class families used opium habitually. One druggist admitted to selling a half gallon of a very popular cordial, which contained opium, treacle, water, and spices, as well as five to six gallons of what was euphemistically called "quietness" every week. Another druggist admitted to selling four hundred gallons of laudanum annually. At mid-century at least ten proprietary brands, with Godfrey's Cordial, Steedman's Powder, and the grandly named Atkinson's Royal Infants Preservative among the most popular, were available in pharmacies everywhere. Opium in pills and penny sticks was widely sold and opium-taking in some areas was described as a way of life. Doctors reported that infants were wasted from it—'shrunk up into little old men,' 'wizened like little monkeys'.

Kept in a drugged state much of the time, infants generally refused to eat and therefore starved.  Rather than record a baby’s death as being from severe malnutrition, coroners often listed 'debility from birth,' or 'lack of breast milk,' as the cause. Addicts were diagnosed as having "alcoholic inebriety," "morphine inebriety," along with an endless list of manias: "opiomania," "morphinomania," "chloralomania," "etheromania," "chlorodynomania," and even "chloroformomania"; and - isms such as "cocainism" and "morphinism." It wasn’t until WWI that the term “addiction” came into favor.
Opium was at first believed to be a medical miracle and became the essential ingredient in innumerable remedies dispensed in Europe and America for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, asthma, rheumatism, diabetes, malaria, cholera, fevers, bronchitis, insomnia, and pains of any sort. One must remember that at this time the physician's cabinet was almost bare of alternative drugs, and a doctor could hardly practice medicine without it. A great many respectable people imbibed narcotics and alcohol in the form of patent medicines and even soft drinks. The reason Coca Cola got its name is because it originally contained a minute amount of cocaine, thought to be a healthy stimulant, and a shocking number of “teetotaling” women relied on daily doses of tonics that, unknown to them, contained as much alcohol as whiskey or gin. Of course it was no secret that men imbibed alcohol at alarming rates and alcoholism was rampant. The result was a happy but less than healthy population.
So, is it any wonder the nineteenth century became known as “the good old days”?

Charlene Raddon is the award-winning author of five historical romance novels set in the American West. Three of these are now available as e-books. Her latest, To Have And To Hold touches on the subject of alcoholism. Her paperbacks can be found through used book stores. Her e-books are available at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and other e-book stores. To Have and to Hold can be purchased here: