. . . 428 pages of mystery, adventure, and romance at a thrilling roller-coaster ride pace.

Set against the backdrop of territorial days in New Mexico, a Gibson Girl heroine and an unforgettable cast of characters sift through clues on two continents in their search for truth, justice, and love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Those Dangerous Gibson Girls!

I received the most fascinating piece of Victorian trivia in my email box a few days ago from Melissa Rolston of the Victorian Trading Company :

Few would regard such ornamental accoutrements that pierced lavish bonnets as a liability.  But scouring through past events it was obvious that Gibson Girls everywhere were armed and dangerous.  I attended an antique show last week anxious to hear further tales from the sellers of all things old.  One gentleman ceremoniously extracted a Victorian hatpin from his jeweler's case.  The heirloom was encrusted with diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires and cast in the form of a sword with a filigree sheath.  He shared with me the theory that this sacred artifact was utilized as a self-defense weapon.

The intrigue of this practice prompted me to delve deeper into the subject.  It appears that the suffragette movement denounced the Victorian fashion trend of ribbons tied under the chin to be naive and submissive.  Edwardian women opted for a more practical approach to securing their magnificent headpieces against an unannounced gust.  A controversial event that occurred in 1908 launched bans on the sharp jewelry.  It was recorded that an insecure English judge demanded that women on trial remove their hats in fear of weapons in his courtroom.  Soon thereafter it was mandated that any woman piercing her bonnet with a hatpin required a license should her pin extend 9".  Many ladies were forced to have their pins cut down in order to sport them in public, frequently wearing them as "stick pins" upon their bodices . . . . 

The term "pin money" hails from the English Parliament's restriction on the popular hatpin imports from France in the early 1800s.  The British were alarmed by the effect of the highly-sought Parisian jewelry had on the balance of their trade and thereby restricted the sale of the pins to be only Janauary 1st and 2nd.  Englishwomen saved all year for this frenzied splurge known as "January Sales".

Who would have thought of our Lily as being "armed and dangerous" over an ornamental hatpin? 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Of cabbages and kings . . . .

For some strange reason, that stanza from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass always pops into my head whenever I am doing research. Perhaps it is because I begin looking for one thing, which in turn leads to looking at something else, and then again at yet something totally unrelated. Or, so it would seem.

The 1890's were a time of transition. The early 1900's was a time of lightning-fast changes. And all of this was much more evident in a place like the Territory of New Mexico than one could imagine. Especially in southern New Mexico.

Anyway, I digress. My adventure in researching this afternoon and evening led to more than a few fascinating discoveries.

Did you know that the lowly file folder has been around for over 130 years? Go to the Early Office Museum and look at the 1876 Centennial Expo page.

Did you know that during the 1890's Americans went bananas for board games? Go to this charming website and discover how many games we play today were being played then.

Do you know who wrote the bible of card games? Go to this link and read all about it.

I'll say it again -- research is fun!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid et al . . . .

Ah, one of my favorite old movies -- who could forget the rascally Paul Newman and Robert Redford playing those roles with such panache? Imagine how much fun I had yesterday when this news article appeared online.

There I was in the middle of doing some heavy research for the exact time period that those infamous outlaws roamed the West. Not that the pair ever made their way to the part of New Mexico that was involved in my research, but it was a great reminder of the sweeping changes that were occurring at that time.

Another fascinating article popped up, this one written by Delbert Trew for an Amarillo, Texas newspaper. He offered more than a few thoughts about living in the Old West, many of which rang so true for the setting of TIERRA RED.

In quoting Louis L'Amour, he wrote: "When a man or woman came West, their past became an unknown and their present became an open book. They soon became known by their actions or lack of. No one cared who your father was or what you had done. The only things that mattered were that you were honest, had courage, and that you did your job."

Hmm, sounds a bit like some of the characters in TIERRA RED, doesn't it?

Rancher Trew also wrote: "To bring the Old West into true focus, not many realize that Santa Fe, New Mexico was ten years old when people landed at Plymouth Rock. While the new folks back East were trying to clear timber, plant crops and win their independence, the Old West was being explored, being stocked with horses and cattle, learning to cope with little water, vast prairies, and the fact that no one cared if they were independent or not."

You can read the rest of Trew's article here

Doing research is not all work -- it can be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Past Times Books Author Interview

Shortly after I was invited to participate in the Past Times Books web site, the eternally scary word "interview" arose. Who, me? Yep -- there was no getting out of it.

This interview turned out to be a delightful experience, mainly because the interviewer had a wonderful sense of humor. So, if you want to know more about me and TIERRA RED, just follow the internet road to http://www.pasttimesbooks.com/?page_id=1301

While you are there, you just might want to peruse the catalog of books and authors for some great reading.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's becoming a habit. Albeit a good one, though. For the second year in a row, we will be privileged to have a book signing at COAS Bookstore in the Downtown Mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico very close to the national holiday.

What national holiday, you well may ask? BOOK LOVER'S DAY! Every August 9th is Book Lover's Day. Don't feel bad -- most bookstore owners and librarians don't know about this holiday either. But we do!

So, once again, we will be visiting this wonderful bookstore which just happens to be located in the heart of the original plat of land that became the town of Las Cruces in 1849. It is here that Lily's story begins in 1898.

Come to COAS Bookstore on Friday evening, August 5th from 5to 7pm. I will have a big supply of National Book Lover's Day bookmarks on hand . . . .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Exciting News!

Tierra Red has been invited to participate in a new web site, Past Times Books, which launched this evening. This web site is devoted to historical fiction and covers a wide variety of time periods. Tierra Red is represented in the 19th Century category.

The invitation began with a wonderful reader comment:

"I've been reading Tierra Red and am quite enjoying the ride. You've done a deft job of combining a plucky protagonist with plenty of action and suspense in a vivid atmosphere unique to New Mexico . . . ."

I am so delighted to be a part of this effort. When you visit the web site be sure to sign up for the newsletter so that you can be apprised of new additions to the catalog. If you love reading historical fiction (and I know you do), this web site promises to bring new authors into your life.

Happy reading!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Historical Fiction is alive and well . . . .

One of the greatest pleasures I experience at book signings is discovering how many people love to read historical fiction. Another is the lively discussions these readers engage me in -- they often inadvertently add to my research with wonderful details and occurrences. To say we have a great time is putting it mildly!

I am also quite impressed with the number of twenty-somethings who also have a passion for historical fiction. Perhaps because we are a university town there are more readers of this type, but it is still heartening to find so many of them. Especially when they linger a while and open discussion on a particular topic.

My husband and I used to think that the great number of history buffs we have encountered was more peculiar to our living in the Southwest, but I have found that many of the newcomers from both coasts, the Midwest, and the north are just as fond of reading historical fiction as those of us from New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

And nothing makes the heart sing more than hearing someone say: "I like your writing style . . . ."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Good things . . . .

Received a wonderful email from a reader last night: "I saw the column on your book in New Mexico Magazine and it sounded so great I finally bought a copy. It has been such a good read and I will be sad when I finish it . . . . thanks again for such a delightful read -- I can see the places in my mind so vividly."

Nice thoughts to sleep on, right?

Tierra Red will be attending the 3rd Annual Healthy Woman's Anniversary Celebration event on June 9th at the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I will be signing books from 4:00 to 6:00pm at the Tierra Red booth.

Come by and visit with me . . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


For some strange reason, Blogger insists on producing my last post as one continuous paragraph! Sometimes all this wondermous technology can leave one simply scratching their head . . . .

Research of sorts . . . .

Yesterday, a former classmate emailed me a file of photos taken in the early 1900's of our hometown, Cleveland, Ohio. He doesn't know that I spend a lot of time in my head back in that time period, not in Cleveland but in the Territory of New Mexico. The photos were of extraordinary quality and the details were mesmerizing: the hairstyles, facial expressions, and clothing; the mixture of horse-drawn vehicles and autos on the streets; the buildings -- some already old and others in progress; the hustle and bustle of people going about their business on foot. Since Cleveland is situated on Lake Erie there were many photos of people at the beaches and people boarding excursion boats. The details were delightful! When I look at photos taken during the same time period in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the people and streets look much the same with some exceptions: the streets are not paved and are dusty with more horse-drawn carriages and wagons and an occasional auto; there are no factories or tall buildings with awnings at nearly every window which contrasts with the abundance of adobe structures and the occasional brick or wood one or two-story building; and, of course, no lakefront but lots of desert sand! But the people are much the same as their eastern counterparts, with the occasional difference in headwear or footwear. And, of course, the slower pace of life is clearly evident, too. Viewing these photos brought me full circle from the origins of my own past into the origins of my writing here in the west. The women in those photos were dressed similarly to Lily and the other women in Tierra Red, women who lived far, far away from the "civilized" society of our country. I am sure their daily worries and duties were similar as well. Thank you, Dan, for that photo file! It definitely made my day, one that was filled with yet more research and writing (yes, that sequel is in progress) . . . .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tierra Red + Valentine's Day . . .

(photo taken at High Sierra in Ruidoso, NM)

. . . make a terrific pair! If your valentine loves to read, Tierra Red promises a great mystery with a wonderful romance plus lots of suspenseful action. Lily and Roman may exist in a turn-of-the-century story but their tale is timeless.

I will be at Hastings Books & Video, 2350 E. Lohman Avenue, in Las Cruces on February 5th from 1:00 to 3:00pm and would enjoy personalizing a copy of Tierra Red for your valentine.

See you there!