Category Archives: Arizona Territory

ROSE OF SHARON. Book #3 of The Huachuca Trilogy

Front Cover-50522b
ROSE OF SHARON, the third book in the Huachuca Trilogy, is a work of historical fiction set in the exquisitely beautiful Southeast Arizona Territory at the end of the 19th century. The Welty twins, Rose of Sharon and Jacob, are left alone after witnessing the murder of their parents until a wandering cowboy, Blake Harris, enters their lives. A new, fragile family emerges to face stressors of mental illness, another murder attempt, and clashes of culture and race. Jacob, burdened with a sense of guilt for his parent’s deaths, is drawn to Fort Huachuca and a military career. The passage of years finds Rose of Sharon developing her paranormal gifts, including contact with a fictional character from the future. Her precocious writing skills set her apart and, as with Jacob, she does not want to run the ranch. Loss, hardship and obstacles to her love for tri-racial White Buffalo mark her life path. Rose of Sharon’s story is one of struggles against all that would isolate her. Resolution comes in unanticipated and welcome ways.

 

MUSEUMS AND WRITING PART 2

Museum searches bring out the lingerer in me. I can’t get enough of the hidden and visible treasures alike.  Whether a tiny pioneer child’s dolly, the interior of an old Model T or a beautiful ball gown, I devour it all. At times I simply savor the experience and, at other times, I take notes and photos to help me remember the experience, especially if I think I’ve found something to use in my writing.

I’ve visited huge museums like the Field in Chicago, the former Ford historical artifact museum in Michigan, the Cody  in Wyoming, and the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Then, there have been a multitude of small museums, especially those scattered about small towns in the West. I believe it was a visit to the museum in Benson, Arizona where I found  Josephine’s  (HUACHUCA WOMAN) costume for the 1914 El Paso gala at the mayor’s house:

“I thought my new gown of ivory striped satin dipped in the front a bit too much, but the schoolboy grin on my husband’s face told I’d do, for a cow gal. That comforted me some. The gown was made by a Frenchie, name of Jacques Doucet, in the old style of the Empress Josephine. A red velvet jacket embroidered with delicate flowers kept the chill off. My new rope of pearls and carved ivory fan were birthday gifts from Peter, who looked as handsome as could be in his fancy duds. I was ready to lasso in any wild critters to come my way.”

Jacques Doucet 1853-1929

When I decided that Grace Pelham (BY GRACE) would make her way to Jane Addams’ Hull House, nothing would do but that I visit the place, source of inspiration for my first career in social work. Follow me to 1899 Chicago when Grace has had to change her name to Ginny Price as she eludes a would-be killer:

“Armed with instructions from Hilda (hotel maid), Ginny made her way to Hull House.  With several newer buildings complementing the facility, the still elegant fifty-five-year old mansion faced Halstead Street. Hull House was a sturdy brick and mortar reminder of what the neighborhood had once looked like. Other mansions had long since been broken into rooming houses where dirt and grime tore at worn paint. Shanties made of tarpaper and odd bits of lumber and tin didn’t look fit for the basest of animals. Factory chimney stacks puffed unrelenting stinky smoke. Ginny stood outside for a few minutes, finding refuge from the drabness of the neighborhood in the beauty of Hull House. Brilliant white pillars marched along the Italianate veranda where floor to ceiling windows looked out on the street. Great oaken doors invited the stranger in. Ginny smiled heartily and pushed at the heavy doors.”

Hull House, Chicago

As you wander museums, what do you imagine about the past?

Do historical figures jump out at you, demanding their stories be told?

Do you see your own family stories in the lives of those who have gone before?   

MUSEUMS AND WRITING PART 1

Writers are often asked: “Where do you get your ideas from?”  The answers are myriad: from my imagination; news clips; bits of over-heard conversation; family stories/characters; biographical/historical/political/philosophical tidbits shared; or “I dunno.”   When asked, I have a ready answer for the setting of the Huachuca Trilogy:  “…from visiting and falling in love with the area and from one-liners told by my brother-in-law over a New Year’s Eve fire about his Grandmother Josephine.”

Other questions will center on research: when, where, and how much? I use many tools in researching material: books, the internet, old photos or news stories, interviews and travel. To be in the place has meant travel to Chicago and west across the plains and mountains; time spent in the San Pedro River Valley with Bisbee and Tombstone to the east and the Huachucas to the west; walking the streets of El Paso, Albany, San Francisco and Los Angeles; calling on memories of feelings, experiences and relationships.

One of my favorite methods is to visit museums where I have learned about local characters; clothing, tools and utensils in use at the time; learned about the geology of the area or absorbed quotes from the diaries, letters or notes of those before me.  In my second or third visit to the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, I came upon an amazing exhibit on 19th century farming life. In bold display was a story of the original Josephine as she stopped a Model T from running off with her friend’s children. The 1925 tale is found in HUACHUCA WOMAN, the chapter on Annaliese, The Matron of Bisbee:

“” I was holding Howie, asleep on my shoulder, a sure cure for anyone’s blues.

“Jo, the brakes are gone. I can’t slow her down.”

Quick as that, I shoved Howie to the floorboards and he didn’t even stir. Don’t know what I thought I could do but, with that precious carload of life yet to be lived, I had to do something. I threw open the door and skidded my heels along the roadway, digging my back into the Ford. All the while, I was yelling at Anna, “throw her into reverse, cut the engine.”  The kids held on hard, squealing as we slid down that rocky road.

“Aunt Jo, make it stop!” from Bruce

“I’m scared, Mama!” from Utah.

And, “Help, help!” from Vicky and Franny, a frantic duo.

“Anna, head for that ironwood tree!” I gasped. It surely seemed a long, long while before that machine gave up the fight. We were slowing and the ground was taking a slight upsurge, enough to bring us to a grinding stop against the old tree. In the end, my shoes wore out, my feet and back were all scraped up, but I wasn’t feeling no pain, yet.

“Rah, rah, for Aunty Jo,” a chorus of my favorite little ones let out.

“Oh, Jo, you are my hero, our hero,” from Annaliese. “Let me see your poor feet.”  I’d barely managed to hobble away from the car when the pain took over.  ”

Do museums bring out stories for you?

Does your imagination go to work envisioning a time and life?

MORE NEXT TIME

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Chain

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG CHAIN

Sandy Baker, writer and friend, sees the Next Big Thing as a reference to the next major earthquake to hit California.  When Sandy sold me on the idea of the Next Big Thing Blog Chain, I didn’t realize what I was getting into.  A simple series of questions to answer about my work in progress, right?  NO,! It turned into a challenge, my next big thing, that I dragged my feet and psyche through. I should have taken lessons from Sandy’s children’s gardening books , Mrs. Feeney and the Grubby Garden Gang or Zack’s Zany Zucchiniland  and dug much deeper and sooner. Sandy wrote and published The Tehran Triangle last year with Tim Reed. A wild ride with CIA operatives in danger and mayhem you will want to check out at http://writersandy.wordpress.com. Then, watch for Sandy’s WIP, Tehran Revenge coming to you very soon.

 

A Blog Interview of Arletta Dawdy

What is the working title of your new book?

ROSE OF SHARON is my work in progress or WIP.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I knew this would be the third in a loosely connected trilogy; I wanted a young writer/heroine with paranormal powers (the “gift”) who spends her life in the Huachuca Mountains of southeast Arizona.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fiction.

What actors would you choose to play your character in a movie rendition?

Rose of Sharon Welty is short (5’2”), full figured but not chubby, long red tresses and is a very emotional person. She has major self-doubts yet is very independent; fearing her gift, she is often lonesome and conflicted about her talents. Rose is a keen observer as seen in the dime novels she writes. She ages from 8-60. Perhaps Scarlett Johansson  would fill the bill.

Rose’s twin, Jacob, is also a redhead, tall and lanky with a strong work ethic and determination to go to West Point.  Jackson Rathbone might fit this part.

White Buffalo/Buff could be Chaske Spencer. White Buffalo is multi-racial: half  Native American and about a quarter each white and black. May have to leave that to a casting director.  Buff is 14-18 when he lives in the area, leaves and returns 10 years later. He is determined to educate himself and attain a strong role in society but can’t do that in the Huachucas.

For Blake Harris, perhaps Kellan Lutz, a tall, well-built cowboy/family man who finds his allegiances compromised. He is 24 when first met and ages well.

Elise is a thin, about 5’4-6” black haired schoolmarm ; I’d love to see Pauley Perrette take this on.  She’s in her late twenties when she first enters the scene.

Finally, we have Jim Blaine, cowboy, adventurer and loyal friend; he’s in his 40’s when he meets up with Blake. I think I’d like Timothy Oliphant in this role.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Rose, of many talents, choses a life of isolation and loneliness when she fears her psychic gifts will create more havoc than hope.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will self-publish ROSE OF SHARON with Amazon and Kindle..

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

ROSE OF SHARON is very much a work-in-progress and, as such, I am in the process of polishing it. The book began as a short story which now serves as the first chapter. It has been dormant until recently while I focused on publishing the first two books in the series: HUACHUCA WOMAN and BY GRACE. I will soon head to Cochise County, Arizona to spend six weeks in the Huachuca Mountains’ Ramsey Canyon. It is home to the fictional homesites in my work. In current time, the area hosts The Nature Conservancy’s Hummingbird Preserve and, right next to the cabin I’ll rent, is the Arizona Folklore Preserve with cowboy music concerts every weekend.

I plan to send blog posts from this inspiring and beautiful setting…and finish  ROSE OF SHARON.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I know a number of writers who portray real or imagined strong female characters of the Old West: Nancy Turner, Velda Brotherton, Jane Kirkpatrick, Eunice Boeve and many more. I am not aware of even a somewhat similar book to compare to Rose of Sharon; her psychic gifts take her into the present and the future. Is this a new sub-genre in historical fiction? As Rose reveals more of herself in my writing, I may be better able to answer the question…or leave it to the critics.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Rose is a healer, a prognosticator and a writer. Her challenge is in how she integrates these in her life. There’s humor, enchantment, stories of love and betrayal along with a bit of magic and beauty.

All three of the books are stand-alones, meaning they can be read in any order and are not dependent on the others. What binds them are the Huachucas and Josephine who makes cameo appearances in BY GRACE and ROSE OF SHARON after telling her fictional memoir in HUACHUCA WOMAN.

WHO’S NEXT?

 Julie A. Winrich writes mystery/suspense/thriller novels, young adult, and Spanish/English children’s books. She loves writing as it completes her, feeds her soul, and provides entertainment. She has published three short stories, has three completed novels, and is working on two more. I was intrigued when Julie asked her readers for suggestions for the title of her WIP. She chose a working title from the offerings:  Night Terror Arsonist.  Now, how’s that for Julie’s next big thing?

Check Julie A. Winrich out at: http://writerjaw.com for “Thriller Writing, Views on Writing.”

 

 

1891 IN THE MEADOW

I wandered out from my chores in the morning with never a by-your-leave to Mother. I was too mad to ask permission when permission never seemed to come my way. All I wanted was to ride out with the new hand and show him the eastern grazing lands he was to cover. But Papa said ‘no,’ even used my middle name for emphasis.

“No is what I said, Miss Josephine Parthenia, and no is what it will stay.”

“But Papa, it would save you time. ‘Sides, you know I can show him where to find the lean-to, same as anybody.”

* * *

Papa turned his back on me and commenced talking to the new man. He was young with brilliant black eyes and dark hair that matched the color of his charcoal skin. His full lips and crinkly hair cried out for my touch. I felt a slight rumble move through my innards and didn’t know what to make of it. With my offer rejected, I stalked away from the ranch house and found my way to Manuela’s Meadow.

Photo by Stompro Photo Design 2010

At fourteen, I was a long and strong one, able to do many of the arduous chores found out on the range. I could throw a calf, handle the branding iron, pull a fence line well enough for a girl. I could mend harness, ride all day and holler up a storm after strays.

Mother and Manuela took me in hand from time to time, forcing me to learn my way around the kitchen, vegetable garden and Mother’s hand-turned sewing machine. I could feed twenty, sew up shirts and dresses, milk the dairy cow, round up the chickens and select the best chicken for dinner while keeping the windows glistening. I knew my way about the ranch in all its parts better than anyone, save my parents. I bucked at the restraints they occasionally wrapped me in when all I wanted was to take charge of something, of anything.

Stretched out under a cottonwood in a nest of sweet-smelling grasses, I was chewing over my father’s refusal when Manuela and the girls showed up.         Manuela approached the tree, sat down with her back to me, the better to track the girls.

“Now, hija, you going to stay hid here all day?” Manuela asked the air, her English now better than my Spanish. She was braiding long strands of honeysuckle together, intent on saving them for winter fever tea. It took me a while, but I did answer her.

“Papa treats me like some little baby. He just won’t give me any real responsibility. Bet if’n I was a boy, he’d of let me take that new hand out.”

“Si, hija, si. You speak wisdom now.”

“What do you mean?”  I was a bit peeved.

“You think your Papa don’t see the moon eyes you make at that Lincoln?  And him, a Buffalo Soldier, fresh out of the army. Little white señorita means big trouble for that boy. You stay away from him.”

I twisted to sit up and drew closer to Manuela’s back. “I don’t see how takin’ him out east woulda made for trouble.”

Hija, your Papa don’t go putting the bull in among the cows ‘less he’s wanting calves. Same way he’s not going to go putting his daughter in among the cowpokes.”

“Ah, Manuela, I ain’t going to make a baby with some cowpoke.”  I had that funny feeling again. “Was Francisco the first man to kiss you?”

“There’s kissin’ and there’s kissin’. Then, there’s kissin’ and tellin’. I ain’t tellin’. You just watch out for yourself.”  Manuela was on her feet, basket in hand, moving toward her daughters. “Hijas,” she called. “Vamos a casa.”

 I let out a big sigh. I didn’t understand my feelings any better than before.

I saw Lincoln Brisco two more times until, after fall roundup, he left for Nevada, to try for a homestead. Each time I saw him, he was polite, soft spoken and with some other grownup between us. I took to dreamin’ about him, making up poems I never dared show and found a way to comfort myself when the stirrings in my body made me restless with the itch.