Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Union Station, Kansas

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have U for Union Station, where Katherine boards a train heading...mmm, well, I won't say. Instead I'll tell you about the place itself, which opened in 1878.



The building was a cross between Second Empire Style and Gothic Revivial, with towers of varying heights, windows framed in stone, and a mansard roof. The clock tower above the main entrance was 125 feet (38cm) in height. At one point, over 180 trains passed through the station every day.

But by 1903, the city had outgrown the space, and the lack of room for expansion combined with a major flood led to the decision to build a new station. Here's what the new place looks like...





It is now Missouri's 'second-busiest train station' and in addition to being a city landmark, offers such attractions as Science City at Union Station, the Irish Museum and Cultural Center, and the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.

Have you ever traveled by train?




Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for TED and Tombstone

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

However, before I tell you about Tombstone and how it figures into my tale, I have to share something very special. This is TED, better known as The Eighth Day, a brand new novel by my friend and mentor, Dianne K. Salerni.

http://www.amazon.com/Eighth-Day-Dianne-K-Salerni/dp/0062272152/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397396917&sr=1-1&keywords=the+eighth+day

This book is honestly the best MG book I've read in years. Seriously. And talk about characters to love! There's Jax, our hero and orphan who suddenly discovers an extra day along with a mysterious girl who lives in that single day. There's Riley, Jax's young and seemingly tough guardian, who covers himself in tattoos to hide who he really is. And of course, Evangeline, the mysterious girl next door, who only lives one day out of seven...


Next month (May 12 to be exact) I'll be featuring Dianne here and I'll be giving away a copy of The Eighth Day to one lucky winner.


***

 And now back to our regularly scheduled letter, T for Tombstone.

This is where my characters end up toward the end of my tale and, as it so happens, they arrive just in time for the famous gunfight, something that thrills Jack (a history buff) to no end:


...he pulled the curtains aside for a quick look and was rewarded with the sight of four men all walking together toward the Oriental while a fifth man, Sheriff Behan, Jack saw by his badge, trailed them, calling out.
     “You know I have to arrest you, don’t you?”
     One of the four (Wyatt, Jack knew) turned around and looked Sheriff Behan straight in the eye.
     “I won’t be arrested, Johnny. You deceived me; you told me they weren’t armed. I will answer for what happened but I won’t be arrested.”
     Sheriff Behan glared back at Wyatt, considering perhaps whether to try to arrest Wyatt Earp. But short of starting another fight there was little he could do and he let them go though it clearly irked him to do so. Jack watched Wyatt Earp and his brothers and Doc Holliday walk over to the Oriental Saloon, feeling his heart race at the sight of them.
***

Any historical event you'd be thrilled to witness?


ps After the gunfight, Sheriff Behan tried to arrest Wyatt Earp who refused to be arrested at that time. According to William M. Breckinridge (Helldorado), the Earps and Doc Holliday all went into the Oriental Saloon after they were released from custody. I have them all going over immediately after the gunfight - a bit of poetic license on my part.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sweet, Larry

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have S for Larry Sweet. He's one of my Pinkerton agents on the trail of Alanna McLeod, described thus in an early edition of my book:


     It was a bitter cold day in January. The wind was whipping down through the streets along with the snow off the roofs of the tenements and Larry Sweet was dressed as if for an evening out, wearing a fitted jacket, pressed trousers, and shoes that had obviously been purchased in a shop that catered to men of means. Jim had wondered then just what sort of man the Pinkertons had paired him up with.
***

This was from Jim Woolbridge's point of view. I imagine Larry would describe himself differently. At any rate, not much is left of the pair in the final edition (they were some of my darlings who had to go) but they were fun to write :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Right Church, Wrong Pew

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today's letter is R for 'Right Church, Wrong Pew,' one of the many curious expressions I discovered while researching my book and also the title of one of the chapters. Sort of like 'close but no cigar.'

Here are a few more you might find amusing:

Huckleberry above a persimmon: a cut above.

"She's a great gal that...a huckleberry above most people's persimmons."

Pucker: in a state of irritation or anger.

"My wife will be in a fine pucker when she finds this sum exhausted."

Not one's funeral: not one's business.

"Wanted: a nice, plump, healthy, good-natured, good-looking domestic and affectionate lady to correspond with, object - Matrimony. She must be between 22 and 35 years of age. She must be a believer in God and immortality, but no sectarian. She must be not a gad-about or given to scandal...Such a lady can find correspondent by addressing...Post Office Box 9, Yuma, A. T. Photographs exchanged! If anybody don't like our way of going about this...business, we don't care. It's none of their funeral."*






 *The above referenced material comes from Everyday Life in the 1800s by Mare McCutcheon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for...

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have Q for...Quirky Characters. Yeah. I know. I'm stretching the "however distantly" thing but Q is being troublesome (along with X, Y, and Z, which I have no idea what to post on yet...) so this is what I came with.

Silas Beadle is probably the quirkiest character in West of Paradise and I have to say, he was fun to write. Jack first meets him back in 1879 after he's arrived in the past (remember, he went back in time BEFORE Katherine). He's just bought a house that needs work when Silas appears...


     “It’s haunted you know.”
     An old man stood at the gate, his cane tapping the stone, his sharp eyes examining Jack.
     “Excuse me?” Jack had asked.
     “This place, this house you’ve bought. It’s haunted, didn’t they tell you?”
     Jack looked at the house he had just purchased, a house half gutted by fire. It was a fine house nonetheless, with a nice view of the Charles River to the rear and a high wall fronting the street. With a small investment it could be restored and Jack knew enough about carpentry that he felt up to the task of overseeing such a project.
     He shrugged at the old man. “I guess they declined to mention the fact,” he said, “And you are?”
     The old man had stepped forward and offered a hand. “Silas Beadle,” he said, “I’m with the Herald. I wrote about the last family that lived here.”
     “Some unfortunate event I imagine,” Jack said.
     “A series of unfortunate events, actually,” Silas said, “This house has been witness to little else.”
     Jack was curious, even if was a load of shit, and he invited Silas inside.
     “You’ll excuse the mess I hope,” he said, waving at the crates and covered furniture, soot covered sills and scorch marks that deteriorated into a shell of a great room with a view of the river.
     “Nice view,” Silas acknowledged.
     They watched the night fall, listening to the crickets and peepers while fireflies danced at the edge of the property. Silas told Jack about the house, from the time it was built over 100 years ago to the present day, and by the time he was done Jack could see why someone might think the place haunted, or cursed. But he shrugged and laughed it off.
     “I’m afraid I don’t believe in ghosts or curses,” he said.
     “No, I didn’t think you were the type,” Silas said, “But I was curious who bought the place and that was a good opening, don’t you think?”
     “You mean none of it’s true?”
     “No, no, it’s all true, all the death and burning. It all happened as I said. And it was a damned good excuse to come talk to you, don’t you think?”
     “Then you plan to write about me?” Jack asked, surprised.
     Silas smiled. “Not right now. Maybe never. Mostly I like to collect information.”
     ***


Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pinkerton, Alan, and the Pinkerton Dective Agency

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have P for Alan Pinkerton and the Pinkerton Detective Agency.


Alan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1855. Last spring I wrote a series of five posts about the Pinkertons and how they figured in my novel. If you want to read more, check out the following:

Part one - the Founding
Part two - the first female detective
Part three - the Civil War Period
Part four - the Adams Express Robbery (my personal favorite)
Part five - ghouls in the graveyard

Today the Pinkertons are still in business, and to see a complete timeline, go here.


ps the new header pic is courtesy of my son. The bird is a Common Eider, though really, he's anything but.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for the Oriental Saloon

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have the Oriental Saloon, one of many that inhabited Tombstone in the 1880s.



At one point Wyatt Earp held a quarter interest in the place and he invited Bat Masterson to come out and help run the faro tables. In this scene, Alanna has just come over from the Grand Hotel where she's staying...


 She could feel eyes on her as she walked past the ornately carved bar, which was lined with crystal glasses and colored bottles, all sparkling beneath the brilliance of the suspended chandeliers. The Brussels carpet was soft and plush beneath her heeled shoes as she made her way toward one of the faro tables. The pungent smell of cigars and whiskey hung in the air and the room was abuzz with talk and laughter and the sound of cards being shuffled.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Newspaper

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have N for Newspaper, namely, the Tombstone Epitaph - and yeah, this letter gave me a little trouble since I couldn't find a person, place, or thing (that I found interesting enough) for the letter N - hence my disclaimer of "however distantly related..."





The Epitaph was founded in May of 1880 by John P. Clum (who also has a small role in my tale) after he was "chided by associates who said he would write an epitaph and not a newspaper." This inspired Clum to name his new publication The Tombstone Epitaph.

Previously, Clum was an Indian Agent  for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation where he "implemented a limited form of self-government on the reservation that was so successful that other reservations were closed and their residents moved to San Carlos." Unfortunately, the Army didn't like Clum's method of treating the Indians fairly as it prevented them from siphoning off the money that was supposed to be used for the aid of the Apaches. Clum soon tired of the Army's meddling and resigned his post in 1877.

After the great silver strike, Clum moved to Tombstone where he started up The Tombstone Epitaph and organized a "Vigilance Committee" in an attempt to bring peace and order to the town. This led to his election as Tombstone's first mayor and his lifelong association with Wyatt Earp.





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Masterson, Bat

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have M for Bat Masterson, who worked as a buffalo hunter, Indian scout, sheriff (Ford County 1877-1879) and deputy US marshal (1879), but mostly made his living as a saloon keeper and gambler.



In West of Paradise, I placed Bat Masterson in Tombstone as a Faro* dealer (or banker) at the Oriental Saloon where Alanna takes a fancy to him. However, while it's true he was a Faro dealer at the Oriental, he left Tombstone in April and so was not present in the town for the actual gunfight which took place in October. 


* Faro was a 17th century French card game played between a banker and any number of players. It was banned in France but continued to be played in England and was eventually exported to the United States where it became wildly popular "due to its fast action, easy-to-learn rules, and better odds than most games of chance."

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Leavenworth

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Today we have L for Leavenworth, which is where both Jack and Katherine arrive after being sent into the past. The following scene takes place upon Jack's arrival...



     Jack came around the corner and stopped dead in his tracks.
     Horses and wagons and people who looked as if they had stepped straight out of an old history book paid him no mind whatsoever, going about their business. Wooden sidewalks, raised up away from the ground to allow for drainage, fronted the buildings, big boxy things, all clapboards with a smattering of brick here and there. The Planter’s Hotel sat on a rise above the Missouri River, an old keel boat grounded near the shore. Out in the middle of the river a newer steamboat was chugging away and come in from the west…he could hear the train.
For a second he just stared like a kid at Christmas who’d gotten the best present ever. He was really here…or there: Leavenworth, Kansas. And there on the corner across the street was the Silver Slipper, two doors down from the barber’s, just like Miss Adjani said.  
     Jack shoved his hat down on his head and walked across the street, trying not to stare at the wagons and horses jostling along the wide street. He stepped up onto the sidewalk and pushed the doors open. The smell of whiskey and cigars assaulted him.




Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Katherine

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place, 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Katherine is our heroine, who thinks a trip to the past will cure her restless heart. Which it does, but not the way she thinks. Here's how it begins...




     Katherine was bored.
     It was a new experience. To be sure there had been moments of boredom, brief interludes that had passed before they’d really begun. But those moments had been tiny fragments of her life, fleeting bits of time that were over before they had a chance to settle.

     What she felt now was complete and utter boredom.
     She glanced over at the king size bed where her fiancĂ© sprawled inelegantly beneath satin sheets, one arm draped over the bedside. Moonlight flooded the room and bathed his form in quicksilver light. Perfect, she thought, he was as perfect a man as she could have imagined, from his silky black hair to his manicured toes. What was there not to like? He was intelligent, funny, sensitive when it mattered, and an excellent lover. But the longer she studied him the more she realized that there was nothing about him she loved. She had no desire to snuggle close, no desire to kiss him as he slept, and not the slightest inclination to wake him and share her troubled heart. And she knew at that moment, despite the barrage of protests she would hear, she would not marry Antonio D'Salvatore.
     ***

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jack

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place, 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.

Jack McCabe is our hero although admittedly he doesn't act like it at first, as illustrated in this excerpt where he has mistaken Katherine for Alanna...



     “Sorry, sweetheart,” Jack said with a nasty grin, “But you are a wanted woman. You might have thought you’d gotten away but you left me alive and I gave a pretty good description of you as you can see.”
     “But...but this isn’t me,” Katherine whispered.
     “Yeah, right.” He snatched the poster out of her hands and stuffed it into his pocket, “Now get dressed.”
     “No, please,” Katherine said, her tone turning desperate, “You’ve got to believe me. There’s been a mistake. I swear this is not me. I never killed anyone and I certainly never robbed a bank or a train or anything else. See? It says Alanna McLeod. My name is Katherine.”
     “You think calling yourself by a different name changes who you are?” He shook his head with a snort of laughter, “Get dressed.”
     “I will not!”
     Jack raised the gun, and Katherine flinched automatically.
     “Either get dressed or say your prayers. Unless of course you want to travel in your nightdress. In which case I can’t vouch for your safety. After all, you never know who we might meet along the way.”
     “Please,” Katherine said, her voice becoming a low, frightened whisper.
     “Get dressed,” Jack repeated, his eyes as cold as winter.
***

    
        

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Israel's Ice Cream

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place, 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book, West of Paradise.



While researching the town of Tombstone (which figures prominently late in the story), I came across mention of Israel's Ice Cream, much to my surprise. Who knew they had ice cream back then? Not me! But I had to incorporate it into my story:

 
Jack was gone before she could protest, but instead of finding someone to bring water for a bath, he headed back to where they’d first gotten off the stage. Because he’d spotted something he hadn’t seen in a long while: ice cream. Israel’s Ice Cream to be precise, and Jack was willing to bet Katherine had never had anything like it.
Katherine had barely gotten comfortable in the chair by the window when Jack returned.
“You’ll never guess what I found,” he said.
She sat up, trying to see what he had. Her eyes lit up as he drew closer.
“Where did you get that?” she asked.
“Israel’s Ice Cream,” Jack said with a pleased smile, handing her the dish. “I spotted it as we walked.”
“You are a man of many talents, Jack McCabe,” Katherine said. She dipped the spoon in and closed her eyes as she savored the taste, sighing with pleasure; it was cold and sweet and very vanilla.
She had eaten it all before she noticed Jack didn’t have any. “Oh! I should’ve shared!”
Jack shook his head with a smile. “It’s okay. I think it was actually more enjoyable watching you eat it.”
***








Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Hayes City, Kansas

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.



Hays City (now known simply as Hays) was established in 1866 by William Webb in anticipation of the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Like other frontier towns, it was a violent place; between 1867 and 1873 more than 30 people were murdered. And this was a town whose population was only 1,000 people in the late 1860s. 

Among the famous or infamous who lived in Hays City were General George Custer, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickok, who acted as Sheriff briefly and killed two soldiers, two citizens, and wounded several other people during his short time in office. 

In West of Paradise, Hays City serves as a stopping point for my two main characters, Jack and Katherine. If you look closely at the picture you can see the drugstore they pop into after getting off the train  where they buy some carbolic spray.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Garfield, James

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.

Today, we have James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, who was assassinated on March 4, 1881, a mere four months after being inaugurated. 



The crime took place at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station (pictured above). The President was on his way to deliver a speech at Williams College when he was shot twice from behind by assassin Charles J. Guiteau, a "disillusioned Federal office seeker."

The first bullet grazed President Garfield's arm harmlessly, but the second could not be found, and Garfield soon became ill due to infection. On September 6 the President was moved to the Jersey Shore, but the fresh air did nothing to aid in his recovery and on September 19, 1881, President Garfield succumbed to his wound.

Back in college I took an interesting class on assassinations. Yeah, I'm weird that way.  


ps my apologies for Sunday's way early post for those who saw it. Needless to say I did NOT look carefully enough at the date I wanted it to post...



Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Four Dead in Five Seconds

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.

Today we have yet another violent episode for the year: Four Dead in Five Seconds, which occurred in El Paso, Texas on April 14, 1881.


This famous gunfight began over the theft of 30 head of cattle, stolen in Mexico and driven into Texas to sell. When two Mexican investigators ended up dead, a posse soon followed and the bodies of the dead men were found at the ranch of Johnny Hale, a local ranch owner and known cattle rustler. An inquest was held with Constable Krempkau acting as interpreter. Marshall Stoudenmire was present during the proceedings and afterwards went across the street for supper. Next door at the saloon Krempkau was confronted by ex-city Marshall George Campbell (a friend of Hale's), regarding his translations and "apparent friendship with the Mexicans." George Hale, drunk and pissed off, grabbed one of Campbell's guns and shot Krempkau.

Marshall Stoudenmire heard the shots and pulled out his pistols, running outside. While running he fired wildly and killed an innocent bystander. A moment later he spotted John Hale peering out from behind an adobe pillar. Stoudenmire shot him between the eyes. Campbell stepped from cover and yelled to Marshall Stoudenmire that this wasn't his fight. Krempkau then fired twice at Campbell, hitting him in the wrist and foot, before passing out. Stoudenmire then fired at Campbell, hitting him in the stomach. Campbell and Krempkau both died within minutes. 

After just a few seconds, four men lay dead or dying

I do love history but I'm not sure I'd want to go back in time like my characters did. 1881 was a dangerous year. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Earp, Wyatt

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.

Today's post is for Wyatt Earp. Not a bad looking guy, eh?


 Wyatt Earp was born in 1848 and lived until 1929. As a boy he repeatedly tried to follow his brothers into war (the Civil War). After his first wife died he moved to Kansas where he allegedly frequented the saloons, gambling houses, and brothels, and had a few close calls with the law enforcement. But after helping track down a wagon thief, Earp joined the police force in Dodge City where he would make the acquaintance of Doc Holliday.

In 1879 Wyatt moved to Tombstone, Arizona to join his brothers, hoping to get rich off the silver mines. When that didn't pan out (haha) he returned to the law and as Deputy Town Marshal in Tombstone, took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.

In my novel, West of Paradise, Jack (our hero) is a history buff and actually gets to see the gunfight, which occurs just before all hell breaks lose for a second time in Tombstone.

Thankfully I'm a bit of a history buff, too, so I had a lot of fun with the research.






Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dodge City

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.


Dodge City was made famous in the early 1880's both as a frontier settlement and a cattle town. There were more gunfighters working in Dodge City at one time or another than any other town in the West, among them Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, both of whom have small roles in my novel. Additionally, Dodge City boasted the usual array of saloons, gambling halls, and brothels - including the famous Long Branch Saloon, which some of you might recall from the show, Gunsmoke. Then again, I may just be dating myself.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Cushing, Will

My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I'll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.

Today I'll introduce you to Will Cushing, Alanna's lover and partner in crime in West of Paradise. Here's the scene where we first meet Will...


Will Cushing was playing cards and losing badly when he got word, and he knew at that moment his luck had changed. To prove the point he bluffed his way through the hand and won the pile. It wasn’t much but to Will it was an omen of good fortune. God knew he needed it.
Until two years ago, he’d considered himself pretty lucky. He’d managed to keep ahead of the long arm of the law and was in possession of what he considered a small fortune. With careful planning, and Alanna’s help, he figured the two of them could live a decent life somewhere south of the border. But then he’d woken up one morning to find her gone along with every cent they’d stolen.

***
Sam Elliott - as Will Cushing. Just put a hat on him and make him a little less grey.

I actually became quite fond of Will, much to my surprise. Then again, I've always rather fancied Sam Elliott ;)







 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Billy the Kid

 My theme for A- Z is the year my book takes place: 1881. I"ll be posting about people, places, and random facts about the year as it relates - however distantly - to my book.






Today we have Billy the Kid, aka William H. Bonney aka Henry McCarty, who was born in 1859 but didn't turn to criminal activities until after his mother died and left him an orphan (one can't help but wonder how he might've turned out had his mother lived...). At first he lived with a foster family but when their situation changed, he was forced to move into a boarding house. Not long after, he stole food, clothing, and a rifle and was subsequently arrested. He escaped from jail and from that point on lived as a fugitive for the rest of his short life. He was killed by Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881 after escaping jail yet again and killing two guards in the process.