Posts Tagged: Prairie Song

Naming Horses

Boy on horse cropped 3

Last week, on my Facebook page, I asked for help in naming a boy’s horse for my work-in-progress.

If you’re wondering if the boy’s horse has a name yet . . .

I received several hundred great suggestions and narrowed it down to seven for the boy’s horse. I found a name for his father’s horse: Haggis. And I named another horse: Honeysuckle. Thanks so much to all who participated in the Facebook horse naming challenge. You all gave me a fantastic name bank for future stories.

New Story News

If you’ve read Prairie Song, you’ve met the Kamden family. Immigrants from Scotland, they settled in St. Charles, Missouri, for five years before joining the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company going west. We meet up with them again out on the Nebraska prairie in Keeper of My Heart, a novella in the Convenient Brides Romance Collection by Barbour Publishing, scheduled for a July 2015 release. (more…)

Wagon Train Quiz

wagon shopping list 4

Ever watch the TV show, Wagon Train?

Just about any Western movie or TV show captured my attention, pulling me into the adventure and possibilities. Shows like Wagon Train led to my fascination with wagon train travel, which inspired Prairie Song. In Prairie Song that sense of adventure and the promise of possibilities compel the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company to roll out of St. Charles, Missouri, headed for a fresh start out west. The television and big screen depictions may have sparked my interest, but I couldn’t use those flawed Hollywood dramatizations after my research.

Sequel to The Quilted Heart novellas

Sequel to The Quilted Heart novellas

Test your knowledge of wagon train trivia.

1.  Horses were the preferred animal for pulling a covered wagon across the prairie. True or false?

False. While some folks did have horses pull their covered wagon, more chose burros or mules for the job. Most pioneers, however, yoked four or more oxen steer to their wagons because of the superior strength and stamina that allowed the oxen to pull the 2500 pounds or more. Besides, horses are more skittish and easily spooked. Which animal would you prefer to trust to ford a stream or descend a mountain with all of your earthly possessions?

2.  TV shows and movies depicted covered wagon overlanders riding on the wagon seat.

False. That was something that seldom happened. Would you want to sit on a narrow, hardwood seat suspended between side rails with no springs? Most trail conveyances were simple farm wagons with no thought given to comfort. The wagon beds rode on steel tires mounted on wooden wheels, on solid wood axles, for fifteen or so miles on a rutted road. That’d be quite the bone rattling ride. I’d rather walk, thank you.

Most travelers walked alongside the team of oxen or took shifts riding a horse.

3. Need some butter for the biscuits you plan to cook over the supper campfire? Just hang the milk on the wagon.

True. Milk the cow first thing in the morning then, before you set out for the day, secure the crock to a hook on the side of the wagon. All the jostling over rocks and through ruts will churn the butter for you.

4.  The TV screen and paintings of the period got it right when they showed wagons circled for defense against hostile Indians.   

False. The wagon companies didn’t typically circle their wagons. When they did, it was usually to corral the livestock. Most wagon train roads led through safe territory, and hostilities were rare. But if a caravan of wagons was attacked, they didn’t have time to find an area big enough to arrange the wagons.

5.  Wagons were covered, which made them into a 19th century recreational vehicle.

False. We’re talking about an eleven foot long by four foot wide, ten foot tall space crammed full of barrels, casks, trunks, and miscellaneous household items. Things the pioneers would need for the journey as well as items and heirlooms packed for their new home. Ready to curl up for the night in the covered wagon?

Most overlanders slept outdoors, on the ground, with or without a tent overhead, or in a hammock suspended between trees or between a tree and the wagon. Exceptions to that rule included travelers who were sick and sometimes children. Excessive rain might have warranted taking shelter inside of the wagon, but it would’ve been an uncomfortable night.

Reading Prairie Song, you’ll discover that I busted many of the perpetuated myths in my telling of an 1866 wagon train story.

Do you have a favorite wagon train novel, nonfiction, or movie?

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Tea, Quilts, and Books in Saint Charles

Tea Time Gregory Frank Harris cropped

Today, I’m flying into Missouri. Here I come Saint Charles!

I’m excited to participate in several Author Events, May 14-18. I hope you’ll join me in St. Charles, the setting for The Quilted Heart, also the launch city for The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song. (more…)

Author Events in Saint Charles

Quilt Square Author Events

 

Are you in Missouri or know someone who lives there? I’m headed to Saint Charles, Missouri, next month for the Lewis & Clark Heritage Days and several Author Events, May 14-18. Join me at the setting for The Quilted Heart, also the launch city for The Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song.

Here’s my current itinerary:

Wednesday, May 14, 1:00-3:00 pm

The Frenchtown Heritage Museum; Quilt Show and Ladies Tea where I’ll talk about the appeal of quilting circles and the quilting connections that inspired The Quilted Heart novellas. (more…)

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Meet Caroline from The Quilted Heart Omnibus

Today, I’m featuring the two main characters in Ripples Along the Shore, the third and last novella in The Quilted Heart. After you’ve read The Quilted Heart, read Prairie Song to spend more time with Garrett and Caroline.

MEET Garrett Cowlishaw

Garrett Cowlishaw  is the a friend of Rutherford Wainwright and is in St. Charles to recruit a band of people to travel west to the frontier.

MONA: How would you describe yourself? (more…)

Test Your Oregon Trail Vocabulary

Oregon Trail Vocab Graphic

Writing historical fiction brings me delight on many levels.

The process of discovery is one of the things I enjoy most about writing fiction. Yes, it can be great fun getting to know a cast of characters and discovering their story. But deepening my knowledge and understanding of history also brings me delight.

While doing the research for Prairie Song, Book 1 in my Hearts Seeking Home Series, I discovered some new vocabulary words Are you ready to test your knowledge of the terms from the Oregon Trail? (more…)

Happy Birthday, Daniel Boone!

Daniel Boone Home Sign Small

Daniel Boone.

What image does the name evoke? A mountain man wearing a beavertail?

If you answered, a mountain man wearing a beavertail cap, you’re likely a baby boomer or a fan of TV reruns.

Daniel Boone Framed

Daniel Boone’s pioneer exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. He was born on October 22, 1734 in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, lived in Kentucky, and then at the age of 65, he moved his wife and several children to Missouri.

The Daniel Boone TV ShowAmerican pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman inspired a TV show bearing his name. Fess Parker starred as Daniel Boone in the historical series that ran from 1963 to 1970, and now enjoys an audience of another generation or two through reruns.

I was a fan of the show, and so was my hubby. I had no idea how deep Bob’s fascination with Daniel Boone and the life of a frontiersman ran until March 2012 when he joined me in Saint Charles, Missouri. I was there researching the area for The Quilted Heart novellas and Prairie Song, Book 1 in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, when we discovered The Historic Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center in Defiance, about 25 miles west of Saint Charles. (more…)

Story Inspiration

Wagon women

What inspires a novelist to create characters, explore a setting, tell a story? For me, it’s often visual stimulus that stirs my imagination, sparks memories, and starts me spinning a tale of love and loss, loneliness and community, grace and second chances.

Story Inspiration Collage 1

DISCOVER

Prairie Song on PINTEREST

  

The Oregon Trail and Prairie Song

Halt of a wagon train cropped

The end of the American Civil War reopened the floodgates for humanity headed west. Men and women hungered for land and business opportunities to help them rebuild their war-torn lives and families.

Wagon train companies were typically a ragtag group of pioneers–families and individuals–fleeing their past, headed for a brighter future. Or so they hoped. A captain was usually hired to guide the caravan safely across rivers and the prairie, and over mountains to their destination of promise.

Prairie Song, the first book in the Hearts Seeking Home Series, chronicles the overland journey of the westbound Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company setting out on The Oregon Trail from Saint Charles, Missouri, in the spring of 1866. Here is a peek at the roster and some of the characters who are provisioning farm wagons and a Connestoga, selling off property, and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones for the Oregon Trail. (more…)

Leeverites, Do You Have Them?

Covered Wagon Int

I didn’t write this post from my home office. I was traveling, which required that I pack for another state, a higher elevation, and cooler temperatures. Before I left home, piles of clothes, shoes, and sweatshirts lie on the bed awaiting their fate, vying for room in a suitcase already spoken for by toiletries, a blow dryer, and a makeup case.

I awarded flat space to crucial outfits, the nooks and crannies to necessities like a sun hat, umbrella, and tennis shoes (since the impatients behind me in the airport security line would rather I quickly slip in and out of slides or flip flops, not concerned with the added weight and bulk in my suitcase).

Once the first stacks of necessities had made the cut, I pulled out a second suitcase. Now you know why I prefer to fly Southwest—two bags and a carry-on fly free. A big bonus when you don’t have the time or inclination to scrutinize every piece of cloth and plastic in your stacks on the bed, and a true gift to those of us who like options.

The above scenario is one of the reasons some family members find it amusing that I’m writing historical fiction, specifically, a wagon train series. (more…)

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