Category Archives: Fort Huachuca

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.”

 

 

Excerpt from HUACHUCA WOMAN

Going to Town for provisions was important to farmers, ranchers, and their workers whether town was near enough for a weekly trip  or so far that trips were seasonal. The Lazy L was far across the San Pedro River Valley so that in the early days, trips were rare. At sixteen, Josephine accompanies her father on a spring trip that widens her experience in several ways.

THE TRIP TO BISBEE 1893

Papa and me set out before light. It wasn’t so much the number of miles we had to go but the rough country we had to climb to get there. The road to Bisbee was pretty well laid out by 1893, but our house was set up in our canyon, about three miles off the main track leading north to the fort. From where we entered the road and turned east, the horses could just glide along in the ruts that the cavalry, banditos and ranchers laid ahead of us. Spring had everybody on the move, glad for the winter to be over and eager with the business of new livestock and new plantings. We joined up with Mr. Carlson and two of his boys toward the end of the first day. We camped out with them, up against a mess of tall stickery mesquite and had a good visit over a supper of beans and Mother’s tough old stewing hen. In the morning, we traveled on together.

A troop of Fort Huachuca Buffalo Soldiers caught up with us and stayed almost to Bisbee. The sergeant, with skin the color of black coffee, took Papa off to the side when we made a short stop to eat. The soldiers talked about raiders going back and forth to Mexico making more trouble than usual. Afterwards, Papa told me to roll my hair under his old hat and to loosen my shirt out of my pants, more manly like. I was already wearing the pants Mother and me usually wore when we did heavy chores around the place. A person can’t brand, help birth a calf or even plow the garden near so well if she’s wearing a skirt tho’ most women tried.

We’d gotten about halfway up over the Mule Mountains when the soldiers turned off toward the border. We waved them on and finished our ride into Bisbee at dusk. We could see cooking fires down in the ravine that sheltered the town and hear the shouts and music from the saloons in Brewery Gulch. It was as close as Papa meant to let me get to that part of town.

We put up at Mrs. Cragen’s boarding house where Papa usually stayed if he had one of us womenfolk along. If it was just him and Francisco, they’d camp out on the edge of town. I couldn’t hardly wait for daylight and the chance to see the town and the changes it had taken in the last year. Meanwhile, Mrs. Cragen fed us fried steak and canned asparagus, the only kind I tasted for lots of years, and her fresh baked bread. I was the only other female staying in the house so Mrs. Cragen took me into her bed and left Papa to share his with a drummer of men’s articles.

Morning was clear and sunny when I woke to find the bed empty. I could hear not so soft voices from the kitchen on the other side of the bedroom door.

“My boarders don’t much care what kind of problems keep you to home of a morning, Mrs. Hale.” Mrs. Cragen was put out for sure. “They want their breakfast and most want it early. Now, I don’t want to let you go, but I can’t be kept waiting again.”

“No, ma’am. I’ll not trouble you again,” said Mrs. Hale, midst a clatter of pots and pans.

I dressed quickly in my dingy old brown calico and headed for the outdoor conveniences. Passing through the kitchen, I looked for the mysterious Mrs. Hale and found no sign of her. Once outside, I nearly opened the privy door on a small, dark haired woman just coming out.

“Excuse me,” she said and pushed on by.

Her empty smile must have hurt for an ugly bruise stretched from eye to jaw. Whatever her problems at home, she seemed to have got the worst of it. Mother told me some men handle their women rough and I’d seen it some in travelers who stopped by our place. Wasn’t no way that’d happen to me without I’d be gone and the man regretting it.

HUACHUCA WOMAN…1952

HUACHUCA WOMAN started life as THE GRANNY JO STORIES and was work-shopped, critiqued, revised, edited, and advised about more times than I kept track of. Now, the book, much modified from those early efforts, is about to hit the market which is you, my followers and, I hope, many others. I am sharing an excerpt today from the first of the 1952 segments that are interspersed throughout the book as Josephine tells the old tales to two of her grandchildren.
Enjoy!

APRIL 1952

Early morning found Josephine Parthenia Lowell Judson Nichols moving stiffly across the kitchen, tea-cup in hand. Odors of oak and mesquite hung in the room. A thin braided rug covered a portion of the worn pine flooring, but couldn’t hide the years of wear and scarring. At the far end of the well-used room, pine-framed glass walls gave a panoramic view of the high desert, close in Huachuca Mountains and far-reaching sky. Rocking chairs sat in a half circle within the windowed alcove and it was to the easternmost rocker that the old woman headed.
She slipped into the rocker with its creaky protest and watched the sky lighten from pre-dawn lavender to a dusky rose. Rays of amber spread in slow motion into the desert moonscape. The promise of another dawn settled on her as muscles sculpted themselves to the contours of the oak rocker. A sigh fled her lips when Patches, the calico cat, leapt into her lap. Josephine set the tea-cup aside.
Wisps of whitened hair shadowed her face. A single braid, caught in a turquoise and silver clasp, reached to the waist of her faded dungarees. Rolled at the leg end and stiff from line drying, her pants gaped at the feminine waist they were never designed to fit. Curling leather boots stuck out below. A crisp new shirt of ruddy cabbage roses topped her outfit.
Josephine’s gentle strokes along Patches’ back soon took on intensity and such discomfort that the cat reached back, swatted her hand and flew from what had been a comfortable lap. He barely missed the much-mended wrist band from the Geronimo visit.
“Shoo, then, you ol’ varmint. Who needs you anyway?”
Frown lines ran across her forehead. She fingered the old band, then started her right hand thrumming on the arm of the rocker, beating out a wild drum roll. Josephine’s shoulders stiffened in a cramp as she fought against the conflicted feelings once again set in motion in the morning just past.

THE LIVES OF CHARACTERS

THE LIVES OF CHARACTERS

I am preparing HUACHUCA WOMAN for publication and have wandered about my files in amusement and consternation. Writers oft-times write the back stories of their characters and then seldom use these. They are intended to aid the author in understanding the motivations and impact of the character in the story. In HUACHUCA WOMAN, Jessamond is a minor character who shows up in the protagonist’s (Josephine’s) childhood, never to be heard from again, or will she be? As you read this worksheet please ask yourself this question:

Would you read about Jessamond as a main character in another book in the series?

BIOGRAPHY OF JESSAMOND LYDIA REYNOLDS

Jessamond was born on March 13, 1882 at Fort Dix, NJ to Lt. and Mrs. Philbin (Alice) Reynolds. She was their first child and destined to be their only daughter. Lt. Reynolds was a graduate of West Point and had served in the Army for six years before meeting Alice McKelvey at an officers ball. He came with another officer’s daughter only to be smitten with Alice. They married a short 5 months later when he was to be reassigned to the 10th Calvary then stationed at ______________.

Jessamond proved to be a healthy, robust child who weathered several childhood illnesses including a bout of scarlet (rheumatic?) fever that took the lives of her little brothers in 1882. The family is on the verge of reassignment when she meets Josephine Lowell in 1886. Capt. Reynolds moves ahead of his wife and daughter to the new post where he is killed in a freak accident…..

Alice Reynolds chooses to remain near Ft. Huachuca where her sons are buried. Her Army pension is supplemented by support from her wealthy father so that she and her child want for little. Alice is industrious and not content to remain idle; she has a need to exert control over the depression that on-going mourning threatens to gain on her. She decides to start a school on the base for the many Apache children living there whose fathers, uncles and grandfathers serve as Scouts. She wins the approval of the base commander, with some reluctance on his part.

Jessamond’s adventurous nature aligns her with these children and she sneaks into her mother’s class whenever the opportunity affords. More often than not she skips the white children’s school to sit outside the window of her mother’s class and often helps the children with their homework.
Her favored dress is a pair of her father’s old jodhpurs cut down to size, a dark cap that barely hides her face and laced boots that imitate the infantry men’s; her shirts are remnants of old blouses with their sleeves and collars cut off. She frustrates her mother and their housekeeper, Leila Mae, wife of a Buffalo Soldier.

Knowing that something must be done to tame her wayward daughter, Alice arranges for her to attend the same Eastern boarding school she herself attended; Grandfather McKelvey meets the train and is taken with his tomboy of a granddaughter. Jessa lasts less than a month before she is expelled in apparent disgrace. Grandfather returns with her to the west and admonishes his daughter to “allow the child to romp and run in the open spaces of the west,” saying she’s sure to calm in adolescence;” she doesn’t.

Despite her unruly ways, Jessa is an avaricious reader, absorbing books as a rabbit will carrots. She is known throughout the fort and town of Fry(check dates) for her unyielding curiosity and unending questions. By the time she is 15(1889), she knows how to shoe a horse(learned from the smithy,) dress a deer, beef or pig (the fort’s butcher,) mix medicines (the hospital doc and the town’s dentist, ) speak Apache, Spanish and read Latin(from varied “teachers” ) and decides to become a doctor.

With support from her mother and grandfather, off she goes to an Eastern medical school and returns(at 20, 1894) to SE AZ to pursue her career. She’ll deal with mining disasters, gunshot wounds, contagious diseases, flu epidemic of 1918(?) and assorted conditions.

What makes her tick/what motivates her? Loss, grief, intellect, determination, stamina.

What does she do? Opens sanatorium in the Huachucas, clinics in Bisbee and Tombstone.

Private life: love of rancher who rejects her; rededicates life to medicine; wooed by miner who courts her with teases, hostile exchanges and sexual tension only to give up in the face of her repetitive rejection….maybe he goes off to another mining venture and returns years later, 2 children in tow.

Issues: rejected/feared by Indians & men as a woman MD, ailing mother’s need for care, difficulty/frustration staying up with developments in medicine on this western outpost.

Please tell me what you think of Jessamond.