Friday, April 20, 2018

From Washouts to Pirates, Travel in 14th-Century England

This post is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt.
A portion of the Roman Road, now a bridle path, near Slinfold, photo by Andy Potter; [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Travel in 14th-Century England depended on status and wealth. Most people were villiens, laborers who farmed land they rented from a lord. Travel for them consisted of going by foot to the nearest market town, where they could sell wares and purchase goods. Almost all towns and villages were less than 15 miles apart, which made an easy walking distance with a night’s lodging possible. People walked more in those days and had strong legs, a fact documented by forensic examination of human skeletons from that era.

Those riding on the back of horse, mules, or donkeys could travel on to the next town before needing to stop. Wagons and carriages weren’t a common means of transportation, even for the nobility. Wheeled carts were useful for short trips, but the poor roads limited their value for longer journeys.

Inns weren’t plentiful and didn’t take everyone. The cost of a bed in an inn wasn’t practical for villiens, who had to be resourceful. They could hope to spend the night in a friend’s home. Farms and cottages might offer hospitality. Sleeping conditions could be rough. Rather than finding a bed for the night, a villien would be thankful to sleep on a pallet in the corner of a kitchen. Churches maintained hostels where the poor could stay.

People didn’t usually employ maps, which meant that finding your way on a land journey called for knowledge of the route or hiring a guide. Roads were usually muddy tracks forged from need and frequent use. Those whose course took them along one of the few remaining Roman roads did a little better. Travelers often had to ford streams and rivers. Bridges might be in poor shape, missing, or washed out altogether.

Those travelling the same direction frequently banded together for safety’s sake. Dangers lurked in the form of wolves, boars, or robbers. Most travelers carried weapons for self-defense.

Sometimes people transported goods by rivers, thus avoiding the difficulties of land travel. They paid a toll for this privilege.

Sea voyages were unreliable, cramped, and filthy. Ships carried passengers into other kinds of danger. A storm might drive the vessel off course or send it, and everyone aboard, to the bottom of the sea. Pirates were a known threat.

Travel in the Middle Ages was a challenging business for the average person. It presented inconveniences and dangers and could be quite an adventure.

About Janalyn Voigt

Escape into creative worlds of fiction with Janalyn Voigt. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her medieval epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams. Her western historical romance novels have received acclaim from Library journal and Romantic Times. 

Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. When she's not writing, Janalyn loves to discover worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven, book 1)

The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens.

But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

US Army in Oklahoma--A True Tale of Cowboys and Indians Part 5

Fort Gibson, 1870's Wikipedia, public domain

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Thank you for joining us in our fifth and final article covering the rich and diverse history of the U.S. Army and its effects on the history of the state of Oklahoma. In the last four articles, we have covered how the Army assisted in the Indian Removal Act, the assorted Trails of Tears, the War Between the States, the Southern Plains Indian Wars, and policing the territory during the time of the Land Runs. That was all during the 19th century. Obviously, it was rugged, and at different times, places were quite lawless. During the 20th Century, the Oklahoma Army National Guard assisted in World War I, the Tulsa Race Riots, World War II, and Korea.

First let us say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.

After Korea, the 45th Infantry Division, being limited to only citizens of Oklahoma, continued to assist in the recovery actions during several natural disasters, however, they did not see any action during Vietnam. In 1968, due to a paradigm shift in the Department of the Army, the 45th Infantry Division was disbanded and became the 45th Infantry Brigade.

In the intervening years, the 45th has been involved in the conflicts in Bosnia, Gulf War 1 (also known as the Iraq War), and Gulf War 2(also known as the War on Terror—9/11 to present). They have also been involved with the recovery efforts for numerous natural disasters along the home-front, including numerous tornadoes, hurricanes, and acts of terrorism (the Murrah bombing—I did a blog on it and you can find it here).

The U.S. Army has several active posts throughout the state, including but not limited to, Fort Sill, the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant (and all surrounding facilities), and numerous Army National Guard Posts. According to there are more than 11,000 active duty Army troops that are currently serving recruited from Oklahoma. Oklahoma has the 3rd highest recruitment rate per capita in the U.S. for the military in general.

Thank you for joining us this month as we have completed our discovery of the U.S. Army and the influence they have had on the history and development of our great state. Join us next month as we delve into the Air Force and their influence on our state.

    Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Alanna loves the history of the state and relishes in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna lives with her husband and parents in the Edmond area. She is currently working on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Waterloo, Oklahoma. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pickering's Harvard Computers and a Giveaway

With Nancy J. Farrier

Wikipedia Commons
Edward Charles Pickering didn’t like school as a young boy. He hated reading the classics, but devoured mathematics books in his free time. In 1865 he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard. Two years later he became an assistant professor of physics at the newly established Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT. He went on to revolutionize the teaching of physics.

In 1876, Pickering was appointed director of the Harvard Observatory. This is where his story interested me. Henry Draper, well known astrologist, had begun a project to map the stars. He died before he accomplished much in this herculean task. His widow donated money to the Harvard Observatory for Pickering to take up her husband’s project and complete the work.

Harvard Observatory
Wikimedia Commons

The story goes that Pickering had an assistant who was inept at cataloguing. Pickering told him he could hire his uneducated maid to do the same job and she would do it better. He followed through by bringing his maid, Williamina Fleming, to do the assistant’s work. She proved so adept at cataloging and doing the work that she continued to work at Harvard for thirty-four years.

For more than thirty years, Pickering employed women to assist with cataloguing the stars. Pickering’s Harem, as they were sometimes called, worked six days a week for low wages considering most of them were had a college education. They earned more than a factory worker, but less than a clerical worker. Still, they did ground-breaking work and made great strides in the field of astronomy.

1913 Pickering and Computers
Wikimedia Commons

Pickering’s Harem may have been a derogatory term, but in that time period many objected to women being educated. Women were thought to be better suited for breeding and maintaining a household. In 1873, Harvard Professor, Edward Clark, wrote a book, Sex in Education.He included this quote, “A woman’s body could only handle a limited number of developmental tasks at one time—that girls who spent to much energy developing their minds during puberty would end up with undeveloped or diseased reproductive systems.”

With all the opposition, Pickering still went on to photograph the stars. He had telescopic cameras in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The women he hired poured over the photographs, deciding the location and magnitude of the stars. Through this work, Pickering is credited as having discovered the first binary stars, or double stars. He made many more discoveries, many due to the tireless and detailed work of the women he employed. In 1903, Pickering was able to publish a Photographic Map of the Sky, a first of its kind.

Annie Jump Cannon
By Schlesinger Library

Among the most famous of the women referred to as the Harvard Computers, was Annie Jump Cannon. She came up with a system for classifying stars that is still in use today. Her coworker, Antonia Maury, also developed a classification system. In 1938, two years before she retired Cannon received the honor of being named William C. Bond Astronomer from Harvard.

Of the 80 women who worked for Pickering and were known as the Harvard Computers, only two or three are remembered by name. They did incredible work in a time when such efforts by women were strongly discouraged. And, it all started with an uneducated maid challenged to do a job and being exemplary in that position. 

Harvard Computers 1890
Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever heard of Pickering’s Harem or the Harvard Computers? I wanted to write so much more about them because their story is fascinating. I wonder if about their eyesight after spending days studying photographs and mappings stars. Such intense work. I will think of these women and the work they accomplished when I look at the night sky and the array of stars.

I am doing a giveaway of a print or eBook copy of Bandolero. Please leave a comment below and your email address to be entered in the drawing. Comments must be left before midnight PST. Let me know what you think of these women and their story. I love to hear from you.

Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and two grandsons. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The "Lost Crews" of the Doolittle Raid: After Infamy, Forgiveness Wins (With GIVEAWAY!)

Tomorrow marks the Doolittle Raid's seventy-sixth anniversary. Cindy K. Stewart is doing a marvelous job of filling you in on the exciting adventures of the Doolittle Raiders. But I have a special claim on Plane Sixteen, since it inspired my upcoming debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter. In honor of the occasion, Cara Grandle was kind enough to swap slots with me so I could tell you its story. (Thank you, Cara!)

Here's the background in a nutshell. Just six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, eighty volunteers took flight on a bold and unprecedented mission. Sixteen medium-weight B-25 bombers left the deck of the carrier U.S.S. Hornet
a feat never attempted before or since. They deployed their payloads on Tokyo and other key targets on the Japanese main island. 

The bombers were too big to land on the carrier, so the plan called for them to fly on to China. But while the mission achieved its military objective, due to unforeseen circumstances the sortie left most of the airmen stranded in enemy-occupied China. 


Detail from a wartime poster featuring a photo of
Lieutenant Robert Hite, copilot of the Bat Out of Hell. Tokyo, April 1942.
Eight men—the crew of Plane #16, the Bat Out of Hell, and the three survivors of the crash of Plane #6, the Green Hornet—were captured by the Japanese. Anyone who saw the movie or read the book Unbroken will have a general picture of what these men endured. But where Louis Zamperini was a prisoner for a little more than two years, Doolittle’s “lost crews” remained in Japanese prison camps

… for forty long months, 34 of them in solitary confinement. We were imprisoned and beaten, half-starved, terribly tortured, and denied by solitary confinement even the comfort of association with one another. Three of my buddies were executed by a firing squad about six months after our capture and fourteen months later, another one of them died of slow starvation.… The bitterness of my heart against my captors seemed more than I could bear. 

- Corporal Jacob DeShazer in his tract I Was a Prisoner of Japan 

Of the eight Raiders captured, only four survived that ordeal. George Barr, Jacob DeShazer, Robert Hite and Chase Nielson returned to the U.S. different men. Here’s how they expressed it in a joint statement:

We were not what you would call religious men before we were captured. We went to Sunday school and church when we were kids… We memorized Bible verses and listened to sermons and said grace at meals…. But we never really understood the meaning behind those words and the source of strength they represented in our lives.…

We were given the Bible to read. We found in its ripped and faded pages a source of courage and faith we never realized existed. The verses we memorized as children suddenly came alive and became as vital to us as food.

We put our trust in the God we had not really accepted before and discovered that faith in His Word could carry us through the greatest peril of our lives. 

—Four Came Home (Carroll V. Glines, 1995) 

The crew of the Bat Out of Hell, captive.
Back row, l-r: William Farrow, George Barr, Robert Hite.
Front row, l-r: Jacob DeShazer, Harold Spatz.
Lieutenant Farrow and Sergeant Spatz were executed.

Forgiveness Wins: The Raider Returns

Corporal DeShazer, the former bombardier of the Bat Out of Hell, was transformed by what he read in the Bible. The Lord revealed to him during those miserable hours alone in his cell that He wanted to give the Japanese people an illustration of the meaning of forgiveness. Jake was to become that walking object lesson.

Upon his release, Jake rushed home to earn a Bible degree from Seattle Pacific College. In 1948, he returned to Japan with his new bride, Florence, as a Free Methodist missionary.

This time I was not going as a bombardier, but I was going as a missionary. How much better it is to go out to conquer evil with the gospel of peace! 

—Jacob DeShazer on his return to Japan 

Japanese people flocked to hear him and peppered him with questions. The idea that one could hold anything other than implacable hatred for one’s enemies was foreign to the Confucianist ideas that drove their culture at that time. 

Sergeant Jacob DeShazer after the war.

From Hatred to Love

There are a number of remarkable stories from Jake and Florence’s sojourn in Japan. My favorite is the one that inspired my novel. At an evangelistic meeting, Jake noticed an attractive young woman who “watched me so constantly that she began to make me self-conscious.” He asked if he could help her. She didn't reply, but the open hostility in her eyes was unmistakable.

She returned for the next meeting, and the next. Eventually, she made her confession. A bomb DeShazer deployed during the raid had snuffed out the life of a young man she loved. She attended the first meetings with a knife in her purse, determined to exact her revenge--even if it cost her everything. 

But she was so moved by Jake's example of forgiveness that she decided to follow Jesus instead. As one of Jake’s fellow missionaries wrote, “She confessed that she had first come to the meetings with the avowed purpose of killing DeShazer... But that night DeShazer had spoken of his own hatred having been changed to love. That message of God’s love worked the same change inside her...”

When I read that account, it haunted me. The young woman's name and the rest of her story are lost to history
. Which was a gift, in a way. I was left to research the time periodfascinating and harrowing—and create the fictional tale of a heroine I see as deeply wounded, but committed and courageous. 

From Enemies to Fellow Evangelists

The most famous episode from DeShazer's ministry is that of Mitsuo Fuchida, who commanded the air attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, a tract DeShazer authored was instrumental in bringing Fuchida to Christ. A few months later, the two were preaching to crowds together—the Doolittle Raider and the Japanese captain who gave the infamous “Tora-tora-tora” signal that launched the Pearl Harbor attack. They brought to thousands the message of God’s sacrificial love for all people and the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (I covered Fuchida's story in more detail in my December post.)

Jake and Flo ultimately settled in Nagoya, the very city Jake had bombed. Their thirty-year ministry in Japan bore fruit in twenty-three church plants and in many changed hearts.

I'm hosting a drawing for a copy of Sarah Sundin's latest WWII novel, The Sea Before Us, for new subscribers to my newsletter. You'll also receive updates on my novel, including an opportunity to gain pre-launch access. To enter, please REGISTER HERE by Thursday, April 19. 

I stepped away from a marketing career that spanned continents to write what I love: stories of reckless faith that showcase God's hand in history. I'm so excited to work with the all-star team at Mountain Brook Ink to launch my debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, this October! Inspired by a remarkable true story from World War II's pivotal Doolittle Raid, The Plum Blooms in Winter is an American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis Contest winner. The novel follows a captured American pilot and a bereaved Japanese prostitute who targets him for ritual revenge. Please also feel free to check out my blog, Five Stones and a Sling, which hovers in the region where history meets Bible prophecy meets current events. It's rich ground--we live in a day when prophecies are leaping from the Bible's pages into the headlines!

I live outside Phoenix with my husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as my Chief Military Research Officer. We share our home with two mostly-grown-up kids and a small platoon of housecats.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Blacksmithing: A Critical Part of Communities of the Past

by Pam Hillman

My hero in The Road to Magnolia Glen is a blacksmith. Quinn O’Shea learned the trade back home in Ireland, but then uses his skills once he arrives in the colonies in the Natchez District in 1792.

There’s one thing about authors. We have to know just a little bit about just about everything. And if we don’t know it, we get to research it. So I spent some time researching the tools of the trade of a blacksmith.

The blacksmith was an important part of any community for centuries.

The term blacksmith has been in use since 1250-1300 AD. The blacksmith forged everything from horseshoes to hoes, shovels, candleholders, iron rings, andirons (firedogs) for fireplaces. Typically a male in times past, the blacksmith might also be called a smith, smithy, farrier, plover, horseshoer, shoer.

The blacksmith’s workshop was called a smithy. The term forge might refer to the blacksmith’s workshop, or to the fireplace, hearth, furnace in which the metal is heated to make it pliable.

A critically important piece of a blacksmith’s arsenal was his anvil. Anvils are made of cast or wrought iron with a tool steel face welded on or of a single piece of cast or forged tool steel. On a quality anvil, the smith's hammer should rebound with almost as much energy as the smith puts into the downward stroke, ultimately making the smith's job easier and less physically strenuous. There were anvils specifically made for farriers, general smiths, cutlers, chain makers, armorers, saw tuners, coach makers, coopers, and many other types of metal workers.

In addition to an anvil, the blacksmith needed an arsenal of hammers, tongs, fullers, and specialized forming and cutting tools, called Hardy tools.

Depending on the location of the smithy, the forge might be inside or under a lean-to. Or in some cases, a successful smithy might have an indoor forge and an outdoor forge for use in the sweltering summer months. Or even large doors that could be opened to allow a draft of cooler air to flow through and cool the building.

The work was hard and hot and required precision and skill with hammer. The blacksmith had to know how hot to heat the forge, how long to heat the metal, exactly when to cool it in the “slack tub” in order end up with a strong piece of iron when he was done.

While modern mechanized production has made the need for one-off handmade pieces from blacksmiths not feasible for production purposes, the skill is still being practiced here and there, with tough, muscular men (and women) passing the techniques of forging steel from one generation to the other.

The Road to Magnolia Glen
by Pam Hillman

1792, Natchez Trace, MS

Bitter since his eldest brother abandoned their family in Ireland, Quinn O’Shea travels to Natchez, Mississippi, ready to shuck the weight of his duty and set off on an adventure of his own. It’s time Connor, as head of the family, took responsibility for their younger siblings. While aboard ship, a run-in with three Irish sisters lands Quinn in the role of reluctant savior. Though it may delay his plans, he cannot abandon the Young sisters, especially the tenacious yet kind Kiera.

Upon arriving in the colonies, Kiera Young prepares to meet her intended and begin her new life. But she soon discovers the marriage her brother-in-law arranged was never meant to be, and a far more sinister deal was negotiated for her and her sisters.

Quinn offers to escort his charges safely to Breeze Hill Plantation and his brother’s care, fully intending to seek his freedom elsewhere. But the longer he remains, the greater his feelings toward Kiera grow and the more he comes to realize true freedom might be found in sacrifice. (Coming June 5, 2018 - Available for Pre-order Now.)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Michael Malloy the Man Who Wouldn't Die PLUS Giveaway!

We've all heard that cats have nine lives. Have you ever wondered why people say that? My husband is forever saying our cat has used up most of her lives. 

Some say that myth comes from an ancient proverb. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays. While others insist it comes from the fact that a cat always lands on his feet. 

The image you see below appeared in the journal Nature in 1894. The image was captured in Chronophotography by Etienne-Jules Marey who discovered how to capture several phases of movement in one photo. 

Much like cats, the man I am talking about today landed on his feet. Well maybe not landed on them but he always got back up on them. Michael Malloy, aka Durable Mike Malloy was said to have nine lives

I want to mention before I get started that while researching I found different accounts on the attempts on his life. I saw rat poison and a gun in more recent articles. However, the original 1933 newspaper articles I read about the murder attempts didn't mention these specifically so I've left them out. 

Michael Malloy was born in Donegal County, Ireland in 1873. He was an Irish firefighter who made his way to New York.

Michael was a drunk and no one knew much more about him other than that. He had no family, no friends, and didn't know when exactly he was born. 

It all began in January of 1933. Times were hard but still men hung out in the speakeasy to have a drink. Malloy was one of them. He did odd jobs and was happy to be paid in drink.

Michael Malloy

But on that fateful January evening a set of events was set into motion that would take not only Malloy's life but four other men and would change the lives of countless others.

Insurance Fraud. It started out four men sitting around talking at the speakeasy, Anthony Marino owner of a speakeasy, age 28, married with a child, Frank Pasque the youngest of the group, undertaker, married with a child, Daniel Kreisberg, grocer, age 29, married with 3 kids, and Joseph Murphy a bartender at the speakeasy. The four sat and watched Michael Malloy slouched over his drink like he was every day. Pasque looked at the men and suggested they take out a life insurance policy on Malloy and he would take care of the rest. And the 'Murder Trust' as the press would dub them was formed.

Top left to right: Daniel Kreisberg and Joseph Murphy
Bottom left to right: Frank Pasque and Tony Marino   

PLOT 1: They went to two different insurance companies and took out a total of three policies. Joseph Murphy posed as Malloy's brother and beneficiary. Once the policies were in place the men started giving Malloy an open bar hoping the man would drink himself to death. Marino filled Malloy's glass as quickly as Malloy would empty it but after three days Marino decided he'd go bankrupt at the rate he was giving away free whiskey so they plotted another idea. 

PLOT 2: This time they'd feed Michael shots of wood alcohol. Prohibition ended in 1933 and the federal poisoning program estimated that 10,000 deaths were caused from alcohol poisoning. So when Michael Malloy came in to drink they started him out with whiskey. Once he became a bit tipsy they switched it to straight wood alcohol that they'd bought down the street. But Malloy never showed any signs of poisoning. He just drank to his heart's desire. Night after night they repeated the ritual but Malloy seemed impervious to the wood alcohol. 

PLOT 3: Pasque got tired of waiting. He knew that Malloy had a taste for seafood so he suggested they soak oysters in denatured alcohol and feed them to Malloy. They did and then gave him wood alcohol to wash them down and still Malloy not only lived but didn't seem phased by it.

Now the costs of supplying this man in drink daily and insurance premiums are adding up. Malloy really needed to die. 

Marino's speakeasy Photo source Ossie LeViness, New York Daily News photographer.

PLOT 4: Murphy tried his hand at it. He let some sardines spoil then mixed pieces of cut tin in the sardines and made Malloy a sandwich. They thought surely between the spoiled sardines and the sharp tin it would tear Malloy's stomach up. But once again that wasn't the case. Rumor has it Malloy asked for another. 

PLOT 5: They try Marino's idea. After Malloy passes out they drive him down the street, wade through the snow in subzero temperatures to a bench where they take Malloy's shirt off, douse him with water, and leave him to freeze to death. But the next morning when Marino arrives at his speakeasy he finds that Malloy has walked all the way back and is waiting on him in the speakeasy. 

PLOT 6: The idea of running the Irishman over is discussed. They hire Harry Green, a cab driver, to help with the scheme and in return they'll give him a cut of the money. So two of the men hold Malloy up as the others ride in the cab and try to run him over. After several failed attempts they finally succeed running him down at 50 miles per hour. They back up and run over him for good measure. But when a car comes they can't check to make sure he is dead and they speed off. Several weeks pass with no sign of Malloy. They've called all the morgues and hospitals and can't find him. They actual decide to kill another drunk and pass him off as Malloy. But before they do in limps Malloy, bruised and a little worse for wear but alive and well. 

PLOT 7: On February 21, 1933 the men took a drunk Malloy to a rented building less than a mile from the speakeasy. They took a rubber tube and ran it from Malloy's mouth to a gas light fixture then wrapped his face tightly in a towel. Malloy finally succumbed to their murder plot. Pasque's doctor friend, Frank Manzella filed a phony death certificate claiming lumbar pneumonia. 

Where Mike Malloy died. The arrow shows the rubber tube
Photo source NY Daily News

The men went to redeem their policies. They collected the $800 policy but when Pasque went to collect on the next two policies the agent asked to see the body. Pasque said he had been buried. An investigation ensued. Kreisberg, Murphy, Pasque, and Marino where charged with first degree murder and electrocuted. Green went to prison. There were other thugs that helped and were aware of what was going on but I wasn't able to find out what happened to them as they played less of a part in the murder.

Michael Malloy became rather famous postmortem. Songs, instrumentals, plays, poems, and episodes were made about his untimely death. 

Have you heard of Durable Mike Malloy? What were your thoughts as you read about the plots on the man's life and all the people who seemed to be okay with murdering the Malloy because he was a drunk?

Let me know by leaving a comment below and you'll be entered to win choice of one of my books as well as choice of format. Don't forget to leave your email addy so I can contact you should you win!

When her father died, she had promised herself no man would own her again,
yet who could defy an edict of the king? After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution. 
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.

Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Connect with me on FB and Twitter

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Gabrielle Meyer Here:

We stumbled across the Lake Superior Railroad Museum about ten years ago in Duluth, Minnesota. It was a complete delight and we've been back several times. The Museum is housed in the historic Union Train Depot, which is a French Chateauesque building built in 1892. In 1910, seven railroads dispatched over 50 trains a day from there.

The depot served as a small Ellis Island to the immigrants who would arrive and wait for their connection in Duluth. During times of war the soldiers would march down Superior Street and board the trains there. The last train left in 1969 and four years later the building was restored and turned into a museum.

Along with the historic trains, the museum houses Depot Square, which is a 3/4 scale recreation of Duluth's downtown in 1910. You can peek in the windows and see what a store or office looked like in that era. There is a doctor's office, a drug store, a millinery, a general store and many more. There is also a working soda fountain, where you can buy a treat.

One of our favorite exhibits is a model train and town that is easily 20x30 feet and enclosed in glass. I'm always impressed with the attention to details in the little city. The kids love watching the trains go around and around--and I admit, I enjoy it, too.

We love exploring the dining car, snow plow train and an assortment of others. It's fun imagining what it would have been like to travel by train a hundred and fifty years ago.

I'm so thankful for museums!  

What about you? Do you have any trips or visits planned this summer? What are some of your favorite museums or historic sites that you enjoy visiting over and over?

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events.

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