Posts Tagged: Old West

19th Century Mercantiles

Carol Mercantile interior – AZ Historical Museum
Guest Author: Carol Cox

Guest Author: Carol Cox


Some of my earliest memories involve shopping trips with my mother, back in the . . . well, let’s just say it was a few decades ago. She’d make a list of all the places we had to go—the hardware store for the screws and bolts my dad needed for a project; the paint store for pink paint to touch up the wall in my bedroom; the drugstore, where we’d pick up a prescription for my grandmother—and maybe have time to cool off with an ice cream float at the soda fountain before heading on to the grocery store.


History Matters: Remembering Western Author Stephen Bly

Steve with jacket

Stephen Bly

Bob and I live at the base of Mingus Mountain, home to the historic copper mining camp known as Jerome, Arizona. About sixteen years ago, my fellow writers and our friends, Stephen and Janet Bly, along with their son Aaron, came for a visit. Actually, our house served as home base during their research trip for Stephen and Janet’s contemporary novel Copper Hill in their Hidden West Series.

Some of our favorite moments during that visit included our times camped out in lawn chairs in our driveway. Under the stars, our cowboy buddy regaled us with tales of the Wild West, Idaho stories, and his ideas for books to come. We were already fans of Stephen Bly’s Stuart Brannon stories. And on those evenings chewing the fat under a moonlit sky, it felt as if we could’ve been sitting on the porch at Broken Arrow Crossing with Stuart Brannon.

Endearing and enduring memories of a man who understood the importance of history and the value of preserving it.

Yes, history matters. Stephen Bly and his wife, Janet, are an indelible part of my history as a writer, and as a reader of western fiction.

I don’t consider myself a historian by any stretch of the imagination. Instead I am a writer of historical fiction, inspired by a master of the craft. I enjoy doing the research involved in delivering a compelling story steeped in history. Like Stephen Bly did for me in his westerns. Whether historical or contemporary, Stephen’s stories were rich in human history and man’s history with God.

Stephen’s Last Completed Book

Stephen rode off ahead of us this June 9, 2011. I’m sure the sound of his Father’s voice on the mountaintop in Idaho sounded mighty sweet, calling him home. But we miss him!

Throw the Devil off the Train was Stephen’s last competed book.

You can check out all of Stephen and Janet’s books at

Can a committee finish writing a Stephen Bly book?

Meet Janet Bly here tomorrow ((November 7, 2012)!

Hear the story about how Janet and her three sons completed Stephen’s work-in-progress—Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot.

The Flying W Ranch

Flying W 60 Years-800

Twenty-two years ago, Bob and I went with my folks to Colorado. One of the highlights of the trip was our time at The Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs. The Old West town setting, the cowboy grub, and the western show was a feast for the eyes, the stomach, and the heart. My dad’s joy was infectious as his whole rocked with explosive laughter and tears ran down his face. Priceless memories.

While laying out our Road Trip Book Tour for The Bride Wore Blue, I decided Bob and I were past due for a return to The Flying W. When I let the owner, Terry Wolfe, know about my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series of historical novels and my upcoming trip to Colorado Springs, she welcomed the opportunity to host a book signing at the ranch.

Mona signing The Bride Wore Blue
Flying W Ranch, Cowboy Shop

On Saturday, June 16th, Bob and I returned to the Flying W Ranch in Old West costumes. Terry met us at the gate and walked us through the recreated western town to the Cowboy Shop, ushering in another fabulous evening at The Flying W Ranch.

My marketing and publicity team from WaterBrook Press (publisher of my historical fiction) joined me for the book signing and the chuckwagon supper and western show. As the wranglers stepped onto the stage, new strains of laughter mingled with the old in an evening brimming with new memories.

Days later, I was in Cripple Creek, poised to participate in Donkey Derby Days events, when I received word from my editor in Colorado Springs that the Waldo Canyon Fire had consumed The Flying W Ranch.

My heart ached for the families whose loved ones passed, for the more than 300 families who had lost their homes, for Terry Wolfe and her Flying W Ranch family, and for all who suffered in the path of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Imagine my excitement when I learned of the plans to rebuild The Flying W Ranch. I’m already looking forward to our next visit.

The pioneer spirit of Colorado lives on. Just like the people of Cripple Creek who rebuilt their town after the devastating fires of 1896, the folks of Colorado Springs are moving forward…rebuilding.

Godspeed, Colorado Springs!

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