I've been battling a relapse of the flu, but feel better today. I've been working on Ethel, but not pushing to hard. Every morning I hear her say, "I'm waiting..." One highlight of this week was a new necklace. Not just any necklace, but a close match to one that was stolen or lost ten years ago! My neighbor makes one of a kind custom jewelry and agreed to try it. Today, I got the finished project. The photo on the top here is the one she made and the one below is the original I got. The cool story about the necklace I had ten years ago is an exact replica of one that was found in a purser's bag in the Titanic wreckage. My husband bought it for me when the exhibit came through. I tried various time to contact the exhibition people, but no one bothered to contact me back. So, after ten [...]
In honor of St. Valentine's Day I thought I would share some fun history on how it was celebrated on the frontier. Today Valentine’s Day is primarily considered a romantic couples holiday, but in the 1800s both private and public celebrations were held. Churches, lodges, hotels, and private individuals held St. Valentine’s Day parties. Hostesses decorated with red and pink cupids and hearts with arrows gracing the walls and windows. Whether together or apart, pioneers on the Western frontier carried on the tradition of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day in ways not dissimilar to today’s celebrations. To honor St. Valentine’s Day, the young and old alike sent cards to family members, secret loves, sweethearts, and even teachers. This day of love was also a day when people would take time to send letters to friends letting them know they were thinking of them. Men worried about sending the proper card or gift and girls dreamed of receiving a [...]
The commitment I made to myself of trying to blog at least once a week, has been really hard since I have tonsillitis and the flu! While in Denver, despite being sick, my friend Mary and I visited the historic mining town of Georgetown. We also stopped at Buffalo Bill's grave site along they way. Ever since coming back on Feb 3, I've been sick. My brain is mush and I can't think straight. You know that filter that prevents you from saying things you shouldn't? Well, my is malfunctioning. So, I've been taking it easy and playing with family genealogy. I learned that I have way more Dutch in me that I knew. Several of my ancestors on my mom's side were from the Netherlands. I'm mostly descended from English immigrants, but there's also German, French, and Irish. Yep, a true American mutt who likes to write about her country's Western history.
I got back from a trip to Denver on Saturday and ended up with tonsillitis and likely the flu. Despite that, I am still working on Ethel. She really wants her story told! I've been enjoying reading through and looking at all the documents I've collected. My cousin and I took a trip to England and few years ago to research Ethel. I met her great granddaughter, Elizabeth. She was a caterer and treated us to some amazing food and gin and tonics. I told her what I learned about her family and she shared some fun and interesting tidbits. Her photos were awesome. I reached out to her today and now I really am inspired, despite being sick. This is an illustration of Ethel from 1898.
It's odd being an author in the respect that you never know when and where your next book idea will come from. I often find my stories while I'm researching another. Back in 2008 I was working on a book about Victorian women in the Wild West and came across an 1886 book by a woman only known as E.M.H. That book has led me on a journey to tell her story about coming to America as a rich English socialite. Ethel grabbed my attention back then, but then other books were pushed to the front of the deadline pile. Truth be told, I was offered contracts for other books, where I had none with Ethel. However, I believe things happen when they are supposed to, and now it's Ethel's time. I still have no contract for her yet, but I've evolved as a writer since I first began in 1997, and think it's the right time for [...]