Monday, May 30, 2016

Got Summer Reading? (Get it right here, right now!)

Use today's post as a checklist--we've got summer reading covered! Whether your days are lazy and hazy or frantic and full, you'll  appreciate winding down to escape into a good book--and we've got one to fit your every reading mood, from sweet and romantic to mysterious or downright suspenseful. Browse our  "bookstore" below, and get ready for summer. Happy reading!

We proudly recommend the following.

Why? Because they're ours--they come right from our hearts--the authors who write the posts for this blog each day.

Click on the Book Covers to Get Your Copy!

The Charleston earthquake has left destruction like nothing Doctor Andrew Warwick has ever seen. On a desperate mission to find the lady who owns his heart, he frantically searches through the rubble, where he finds her injured and lifeless. After she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are quickly dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. Things only get worse when he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.

Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.
Now together for the first time, six complete Christian, historical, western romances from bestselling authors you know and love. Each of these stories, whether novella length or full length, will transport you back to a time when outlaws ran free, the land was wild, and guns blazed at the drop of a hat!

Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances. 

In 1942, Lexie Smithfield becomes heir to her family's vacation home on Jekyll Island, and a mysterious telegram beckons her return. Ten years before, tragedies convinced her mother the island was cursed, and the home in the exclusive Millionaire's Club was abandoned.  Russell Thompson knows what really happened, but swore never to tell. Will Lexie discover the real danger before it's too late? 


Three riveting short stories follow Samuel Adams as he struggles through the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence and evokes the Dawn of Liberty.

Liberty comes with a price. Can a fledgling nation bear the cost?
British forces advance upon a struggling colonial army. The time of decision has come. Declare independence, or give up the fight. The weight of a nation rests on Samuel Adams' shoulders as he joins the delegates of the Second Continental Congress. Can he raise the cause of Liberty above the fear of the King's wrath in the hearts of his countrymen?

Seattle debutante Sofi Andersson will do everything in her power to protect her sister who is suffering from shock over their father's death. Charles, the family busy-body, threatens to lock Trina in a sanatorium--a whitewashed term for an insane asylum--so Sofi will rescue her little sister, even if it means running away to the Cascade Mountains with only the new gardener Neil Macpherson to protect them. But in a cabin high in the Cascades, Sofi begins to recognize that the handsome immigrant from Ireland harbors secrets of his own. Can she trust this man whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions? And can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder by the British police? Only an act of faith and love will bridge the distance that separates lies from truth and safety.

Orphaned Annie Paxton and her brothers have lost the only home they've ever known and are determined to make a better future in St. Joseph, Missouri. Annie dreams of a pretty house with window boxes, having friends, and attending church every week. But then her brothers land jobs as Pony Express riders, and Annie puts her dreams on hold to work as a cook at Clearwater Ranch on the Pony Express route.  Annie struggles to adapt to her new job, and the gruff station owner doesn't seem inclined to make her life any easier. A friendship has just begun to blossom and builds between them when Annie attracts the attention of a refined, dashing lieutenant from nearby Fort Kearney. Annie must learn how to trust her instincts and follow her heart--even if she's conflicted about which way it's leading her.  

From heart-pounding battles on the high seas to the rigors of Valley Forge and the Shawnee’s savagely fought wars, Valley of the Shadow continues the thrilling saga of America’s founding.

Beautiful historical romance novellas written just for you by some of today's best-selling and award-winning Christian authors! Sit back and relax while these four talented women whisk you back to simpler times in America's past... but with that simplicity came hard work and change, so curl up in your favorite spot and see what Mary, Ruthy, Pam and Cara have brought your way as you "Spring Into Love" with this new delightful Christian romance collection!

Meet 12 adventurous Victorian era women—a beekeeper who is afraid of bees, a music teacher whose dog has dug up a treasure, a baker who enters a faux courtship, and six more—along with the men they encounter while making summertime memories. Will these loves sown during summer be strengthened by faith and able to endure a lifetime?

Risking all their hopes and dreams on promises of fertile land in the Northwest, thousands set off on the Oregon Trail between 1843 and the 1890s. Despite the majestic landscape and daily opportunities for fireside chats, the trail was hardly the place these migrants expected to find romance. In these nine novellas, travelers on the wagon trains experience all the challenges and dangers of the trail. Some will lose much, settle down along the trail, and even turn back home, while others endure to the end. Readers will enjoy traveling along with the romantic adventures in which faith is honed.

After a broken engagement weeks before the wedding, Amanda Russell's trust in men is at point zero. Reed Benson is working on changing his college days reputation as a lover boy. When Reed meets Mandy, he is immediately attracted to her but fears his reputation will turn her away. By hiring her interior design firm to make over his condo, he hopes to win her heart as well until a girl from his past reveals his reputation. God has a great plan for them both if they will forget the past and trust God's designs for their life.

It's the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.
When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.
Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war―and whose side is He on?

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.
Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions

In this action-packed sequel to PULSE, author L.R.Burkard takes readers on a spell-binding journey into a landscape where teens shoulder rifles instead of school books, and where survival might mean becoming your own worst enemy.

Now that an EMP has sent the United States into a Dark Age, Andrea, Lexie and Sarah have more to worry about than the mere loss of technology. Threats of marauders and rumors of foreign soldiers mean no one can let down their guard. The appearance of FEMA camps might be reassuring--except military outfits seem determined to force people into them...With evil threatening on every side, can the U.S. recover before everyone--and everything--is destroyed?  

What genres do you love to read? Did we have something that fits the bill? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you've read one of these books, please let us know. We love to hear from readers!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Gladys Aylward - The Woman who Defied the Japanese Empire

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970)

Gladys Aylward was humble woman who gave her entire life to serving Jesus Christ in a bold way. When God called her to China, the missionary society rejected her. She went on her own using her life savings to get there. When orphans landed on her doorstep, she took them in with no resources to care for them. When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China and put a bounty on her head, she walked a hundred children to safety over a hundred miles away. Her faith, tenacity and bold trust in Christ should inspire us all.

Gladys was born in Edmonton, London on February 24, 1902. She was the daughter of a mailman and had two younger sister and one younger brother. In her early life, there was nothing that showed her future calling. She loved play acting but wasn’t really interested in the things of God. At age 14, she left school and became a parlor maid.

When Gladys was 18, she attended a revival that changed her life. The minister preached about dedicating ours lives to God through service. She responded to the altar call and felt called to serve in the mission field. Shortly after that, she read a magazine about how most of China had never heard the Gospel and decided that was where God would have her go.

She saved what money she could from working as a maid and at age 26 to the China Inland Mission Center in London, but was rejected when she failed the examinations. Trusting God to provide an opportunity. Gladys continued to work and save for four more years when she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.

That created another problem. Even with years of saving, Gladys didn’t have enough for ship fare to China, but she did have enough for train fare. In October 1930, she purchased a ticket on the Trans Siberian Railroad with a passport, Bible and a little over two pounds even though China and Russia were at war. She set off on a perilous, overland journey to the inland city of Yangchen, in the mountainous province of Shansi, a little south of Peking where few Europeans visited and the people didn’t trust foreigners.

During the trip through Russia, a Russian conductor started yelling at everyone to get off the train because of a fierce battle ahead. Russian solders boarded and Gladys was forced off. The train left, and she had to walk 30 miles back to the nearest city on a cold, snowy night. She had almost no food and nearly froze to death. When she arrived in the city, she barely escaped being forced to become a Soviet military machine operator.
When she arrived, Gladys met up with Jeannie Lawson. They opened an inn for mule drivers called the Inn of the Sixth Happiness as a way of serving the Chinese. This gave them the opportunity to share entertaining Bible stories with the locals and gave Gladys an opportunity to learn to speak Chinese. When Jeannie died, Gladys took a job as a foot inspector with the Chinese officials to keep the inn running and make ends meet. As foot inspector, she convinced local villages to stop the practice of binding young girls’ feet and had opportunities to share her faith. Throughout this time, the locals began to gain respect for the foreigner among them.

During her second year in Yangchen, Gladys was summoned by the Mandarin. A riot had broken out in the men’s prison. When she arrived, the convicts were rampaging in the prison courtyard, and several of them had been killed. The soldiers were afraid to intervene.
The warden of the prison said to Gladys, “Go into the yard and stop the rioting.” She said, “How can I do that?” The warden said, “You have been preaching that those who trust in Christ have nothing to fear.”

With that challenge to her faith, she walked into the courtyard and shouted: “Quiet! I cannot hear when everyone is shouting at once.” The men quieted and stopped rioting. Gladys spoke to a man chosen as spokesman about prison conditions and dressed down the prison warden for the lack of food and deplorable conditions. She suggested reforms that included allowing the prisoners to earn money to buy their own food. The warden agreed and donated old looms, and a grindstone so that the men could work grinding grain. The people began to call Gladys Aylward “Ai-weh-deh,” which means “Virtuous One.” It was her name from then on.

A few months later, Gladys saw a woman begging by the road with a child covered with sores and obviously suffering severe malnutrition. The woman had kidnapped the child and was using the five year old girl as an aid to her begging. Gladys bought the child for ninepence. A year later, “Ninepence” came in with an abandoned boy in tow, saying, “I will eat less, so that he can have something.” Thus Ai-weh-deh acquired a second orphan, “Less.” Orphans began to arrive regularly at her doorstep.

The Mandarin found Gladys’ religion ridiculous, but enjoyed talking to her and invited her to the palace often. In 1936, she officially became a Chinese citizen, and dressed as the people in her village. Other missionaries arrived in neighboring town a few years later, and Gladys helped the people accept them.

In the spring of 1938, war came to China. Japanese planes bombed the city of Yangcheng, killing many and causing the survivors to flee into the mountains. Five days later, the Japanese Army occupied Yangcheng. The Mandarin gathered the survivors and told them to retreat into the mountains for the duration. At this point, he told Gladys that she had so impressed him that he wanted to become a Christian.

The Mandarin asked Gladys’ advice about the prisoner still in the prison. The traditional policy favored beheading to keep them from escaping, but Gladys suggested a plan for relatives and friends of the convicts to post a bond guaranteeing their good behavior. Every man was eventually released on bond.

As the war continued, Gladys often found herself behind Japanese lines passed on information to the armies of China, her adopted country. A friend sent her a message warning, “The Japanese are coming in full force. We are retreating. Come with us.” She refused sending a message that said, “Christians never retreat!” He sent back a copy of a Japanese handbill offering $100 each for the capture, dead or alive, of the Mandarin,  a prominent merchant, and Ai-weh-deh (Gladys).
She decided she had no choice but to lead the orphan children she had accumulated to the government orphanage at Sian. With the children in tow, she walked for twelve days spending some nights with friendly hosts and some nights unprotected on the mountainsides. On the twelfth day, they arrived at the Yellow River with no way to cross it. All boat traffic had stopped, and all civilian boats had been seized to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese.

The children wanted to know, “Why don’t we cross?” She said, “There are no boats.” They said, “God can do anything. Ask Him to get us across.” They all knelt and prayed. Then they sang. A Chinese officer with a patrol heard the singing and rode up. He heard their story and said, “I think I can get you a boat.” They crossed, and after a few more difficulties Gladys finally delivered the children to Sian then collapsed with typhus fever. She was delirious for several days.

As her health gradually improved, she started a Christian church in Sian, and worked elsewhere, including a settlement for lepers in Szechuan, near the borders of Tibet. Her health was permanently impaired by injuries received during the war, and in 1947 she returned to England for a badly needed operation. She remained in England, preaching there for 10 years. Then she traveled to Taiwan since Communist China no longer allowed missionaries to enter and started another orphanage.
In 1957, Alan Burgess wrote a book about her, The Small Woman. It was condensed in The Reader’s Digest, and made into a movie called The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman. When Newsweek magazine reviewed the movie, and summarized the plot, a reader, supposing the story to be fiction, wrote in to say, “In order for a movie to be good, the story should be believable!” Gladys hated the movie. She died in Taiwan on 3 January 1970.

She was a hero in the faith and a bold woman who didn’t let anything stop her from doing what God called her to do. 

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest.

 Her novellas Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are available on Amazon. Her novella Resurrection of Hope will be released in July.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tidbits On Some Herbs

Hi all,
Herbs for medicine isn't new. Below are some tidbits about five different herbs and there uses. These come from "The Medical Companion: or family physician; treating of the diseases of the United States" by James Ewell ©1827

It's cultivated in the Southern States
1 Tablespoon makes a pint of jelly
Great for children
For persons labouring under bowel complaints, as diarrhoea and dysentery, it is of itself a remedy.

Also called Spunk
Grows on white oak, pine, and hickory trees
Used to start a fire with flint and steel
Reduce to a powder and apply to violent hemorrhages from wounds is said to be an excellent application to stop the bleeding.
Modern information says it's good for sinusitis.

Is a powerful stimulant, and has been found beneficial in chronic rheumatism
In cases of violent pain or cramp in the stomach, no medicine is superior to a strong infusion of red pepper
It is also useful, both as a medicine and gargle, in putrid sore throat, when infused in water.

Is an excellent stomachic in flatulent colics, languors, hysteric cases and vomiting.
In nausea, cholera morbus, obstinate vomiting, and griping, peppermint, infused in spirits, and applied as hot as can be endured to the stomach and bowels, will be found a most valuable remedy.

PLANTAIN, Plantago (not the banana like fruit)
Has long been employed as an antidote against the bites of snakes, spiders, and other venomous insects.
The juice, extracted from tho whole of the plant, is generally given in doses of two table- spoonfuls every hour, or oftener, until the patient is relieved.
The leaves bruised are considered by some a good application to fresh wounds.

Lynn A. Coleman is an award winning & best-selling author who makes her home in Keystone Heights, Florida, with her husband of 42 years. Lynn's latest novel "The Shepherd's Betrothal" is the third book in her Historical St. Augustine, FL. series.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Information When We Need It

by Linda Farmer Harris

I'm adapting my mother's favorite recipes and my father's baking for our high altitude Colorado living. I grew up on the high plains of New Mexico where dryness and high winds were our cooking enemies. Dad built a proofing box so his dinner rolls could rise in a stable temperature environment. A waterbed heater served as the heat source. You can see the white thermostat on the right side.

Dad was a baker in the Merchant Marines and made bread, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls throughout his life. He passed his secrets down to me and my sister, and taught his great granddaughter his techniques.

On one of Mom's recipe cards she added "a pinch of salt" in the margin. I think of a "pinch" as how much salt can I pick up with my thumb and first two fingers, but is that really a true measure.

I remembered Margaret Brownley's November 24, 2015 blog "A Pinch of This and a Dash of That" and the list of some weights and measures used by pioneer cooks. A Pinch is an eighth of a teaspoon.

That made me think of some of the other pieces of great information that have flowed daily through HH&H since its inaugural post on February 1, 2013. When I started research on my novella The Lye Water Bride (Barbour, 2016) I searched for info from HH&H posts. Articles like Miralee Ferrell's "Women in the Gold Rush Era" and "The First Gold Rush in the United States" by Patty Smith Hall. Included in the more than forty blogs using "gold rush" as a search term is my own "Pie for Sale: Lucy Stoddard Wakefield."

Have you referred to a previous HH&H post for information on one of your projects, your child's history assignment, or just because you were interested in a topic?


Linda Farmer Harris
Turning Tidbits of History into Unforgettable Stories

Lin and her husband, Jerry, live on a hay and cattle ranch in Chimney Rock, Colorado. Her novella The Lye Water Bride is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection (Barbour Publishing, August 1, 2016).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Will the Real Captain John Smith, Please, Stand Up?

Thank you for stopping by Heroes, Heroines, and History today. I’m Michele Morris, and I’d like to share with you some truths about the life of Captain
John Smith

Let's start by going back in time more than four-hundred years to December 19, 1606. Captain John Smith and an English expedition of 105 settlers sailed on three ships headed for The New World. They landed April 26th, 1607 on the shores of what is now Cape Henry, Virginia. King James had chartered the London Company branch of the proprietary Virginia Company for a for-profit venture, and he commissioned Captain Christopher Newport to lead the sea voyage.

The trip must have been fraught with chaos because days before they arrived,
The Virginia Company's claim in the New World
Captain Newport charged Captain John Smith with mutiny and sentenced him to the gallows. Luckily for Smith, Captain Newport read The Virginia Company’s sealed settlement orders before Captain Smith’s execution. The document appointed Captain John Smith as one of the seven leaders in the colony, thus, possibly saving his life.

On May 24, 1607, Captain Edward Maria Wingfield, head of the leader’s council, picked the Jamestown site as the location for the settlers’ new home.
Jamestown's location
Jamestown, an island in the James River, became the first permanent English settlement in North America.

After a four-month long sea voyage, the colony’s food supplies were alarmingly low. Each man was allotted only a cup or two of grain-meal per day, and due to poor water sources, Indian attacks, and diseases, at least sixty men died by September 1607. Captain John Smith wrote that for a time, one man died every day.

Though times were tough, 27-year-old John Smith began exploring the new land. While mapping Chickahominy River in December 1607, Powhatan warriors captured two colonists and Smith. At the time, the Powhatan Indian confederacy consisted of around thirty Tidewater-area tribes led by Chief Wahunsonacock, known as Chief Powhatan to the English. Smith’s companions were killed, but, according to a 1624 account by Smith, he was spared and released because of the intervention of Chief Powhatan’s 13-year-old daughter, Pocahontas.
Pochahontas saving Captain Smith

In early January 1608, Captain Newport brought nearly one hundred new settlers. After their arrival, a carelessly set fire accidently burnt most of the fledgling village, thus forcing the settlers to live in the burnt-out ruins during the remaining harsh winter months. Food supplies ran low, and although Native Americans (including Pocahontas) brought some food, Smith wrote that "more than half of us died."

After Jamestown’s disastrous first year, Smith became president of the colony.
Much of the past discord within Jamestown came as the result of some of the more affluent colonists believing they were above manual labor. Many constricted others to do their share of work. Captain Smith immediately imposed order by ruling everyone must work. The captain trained the settlers to farm the land and to contribute to the betterment of Jamestown, thus saving the colony from early devastation. He publicly stated, "He that will not work shall not eat."

John Smith continued to explore and map the area. In 1608, he led a team up the Chesapeake Bay. It is believed they traveled as far north as Baltimore. On their return trip, they took a turn up the Potomac River to modern-day Washington, D.C. During this trip, Captain John Smith caught a stingray. The ray stung and almost killed him. To this day, that area of the Rappahannock River is called Stingray Point.

In 1609, Smith was injured from a fire in his gunpowder bag. His injuries were severe enough to force his return to England for medical care.

John Smith returned to the New World in 1614. He did not go back to Jamestown, but instead explored the New England coast from Penobscot Bay to Cape Cod. Interestingly, that April, Pocahontas married the English planter John Rolfe in Jamestown. She eventually served as an Indian ambassador in England where she contracted smallpox and died.

In 1615, Smith was captured by pirates off the New England shoreline. He managed to escape after three months of captivity, then returned to England where he educated others about the New World and wrote of his adventures. He died in 1631.

Captain John Smith played a vital part in the settlement of Jamestown and mapping the eastern coast of the New World. His life was filled with bravery, excitement, and adventure. There have been many fictional stories told about Captain John Smith, including his relationship with the Indian princess Pocahontas. Although I love a good story, it’s important to know the truth behind the fiction.

What do you think of Captain John Smith’s adventures and the differences between fact and fiction in the stories told about him? Please, comment below, and thank you for joining me today at 

Award winning author, Michele Morris’s love for historical fiction began when she first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House book series. She grew up riding horses and spending her free time in the woods of mid-Michigan dreaming of days-gone-by and knights-in-shining-armor. Therefore, it only makes sense that she now writes historical romance with a touch of suspense. Married to her high school sweetheart, they are living happily-ever-after with their six children, three in-loves, and six grandchildren in Florida, the sunshine state. When not spending time with her large brood or writing, Michele enjoys photography, genealogy, and cooking.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The History of Wells Fargo

By Jennifer Uhlarik

A couple of years ago, a new bank came to our town. Wells Fargo. I say “new,” because it was new to our area, perhaps to our state. But Wells Fargo is hardly a “new” bank. It was first started in 1852, a product of the California Gold Rush. The founders, Henry Wells and William Fargo, started Wells, Fargo, & Co., in order to provide excellent banking services to the people of the West. Their first location was in San Francisco but they quickly developed an excellent reputation, which allowed them to spread to the other towns and mining camps in California and beyond.

Wells Fargo & Co. wasn’t just about the banking services, though. In addition to handling their customers’ money needs in a quick and reliable way, Wells Fargo also got into the express business—transporting anything of value via horse and rider, steamships, railroad, or, the most well known, the stagecoach.
Advertisement for Overland Mail Stagecoach travel.

In 1858, Wells, Fargo & Co. lent their backing to the new Overland Stage Line, which traveled 2,812 miles along the “Butterfield Route.” In 1861, the company took over the operation of the short-lived Pony Express, which lasted only until the start of the Civil War. By 1866, Wells Fargo had expanded to dominate all major Western stage routes from Nebraska to California.

The Butterfield Route, Overland Mail Company

As the Transcontinental Railroad was completed, Wells Fargo’s express business switched to a rail-based one, rather than stagecoaches, allowing it to reach more than just the western states and territories. By 1888, the company’s new motto became “Ocean-to-Ocean” to depict the fact it served customers from the East coast all the way to the West in 25 states. Their services included money orders, traveler’s checks, and money transfers via telegraph. And for the many mining communities, they provided guards to keep the gold, silver and other valuables safe. By the early 1900’s, the bank boasted over 6,000 locations nation-wide.

Original Wells Fargo location,
San Francisco, California
In 1905, Wells, Fargo, & Co. separated their banking and express businesses into two separate entities. The bank was rocked in 1906 when the San Francisco earthquake and fire struck. Thankfully, the bank president sent word that the read: “Building Destroyed, Vault Intact, Credit Unaffected.” From there, Wells Fargo rebuilt and became a powerhouse in the business all across the West.

As World War I began in 1918, Wells Fargo’s locations shrunk drastically—from about 10,000 locations (both bank and express offices) of back to a single branch in San Francisco. This was due to the U.S. Government taking over the nation’s express network as part of the War effort. The company survived—even thrived—the downsizing, and with a series of good choices, continued to be the innovative company it always had been. Wells Fargo threw its support behind the burgeoning auto, aviation, and film industries of the 1910’s and 20’s. The long unused stagecoaches began to make appearances in Western films, thus keeping the Wells Fargo name before the people. Sound management helped the company survive the Great Depression, saw it through World War II, and on into the modern era.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s when Wells Fargo expanded outside of California, and in the 2000’s, once again reached the point of being in service from “Ocean-to-Ocean.”

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

PREORDER NOW (Available July 1, 2016):


Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Real Story Behind the Term "Get Outta Dodge!"

The popular TV show Gunsmoke is credited for the term "Get out of Dodge," but the phrase actually has a more colorful and interesting history.
According to the book Lynchings, Legends and Lawlessness by Loren Avery, the term actually originated in Sidney, Nebraska.  At the time the town had such a bad reputation it was called Sinful Sidney and the Wickedest Town in the West.  Is there small wonder that they buried their dead in what was called the "Bad Man's Cemetery?"
200 murderers, robbers and the ilk were buried there and those were just the ones who got caught.  The numerous hangings included one hapless man who managed somehow to get lynched twice. Sidney created so much news it had three newspapers.
In 1880, a robbery to end all robberies occurred in the town and five million dollars was stolen.  Things were so bad that the Union Pacific railroad threatened to pull out stakes if something wasn't done to curb crime.  In an attempt to clean up the town, a vigilante group rounded up sixteen known criminals and issued a warning to the rest of the lawbreakers telling them to "Get out of Sidney, forever."
Since the edict was issued on April 1st, some outlaws thought it was an April Fools’ day joke.  When the first of the sixteen captives hung from the tree in front of the courthouse the message became clear.
Following the hangings, reportedly over 200 thugs fled town.  Word spread and soon other towns, including Dodge City, used Sidney's crime-ridding blueprint to clear out their own criminals.  Now you know the true story of "Get out of Dodge.

I don't think a sign like that would work today, but some cities are experimenting with all kinds of interesting ideas.  Los Angeles claims to have had success in curbing crime by playing classical music in high-crime areas.  Lancaster, California left crime-fighting to the birds--literally.  Bird chirps were piped over a half mile area and reportedly crime dropped fifteen percent. My town has put up signs saying that we support our police.  It's too soon to tell, but some think that these signs will help lower the crime rate.  What do you think? Any other interesting crime-fighting ideas out there? 

Margaret's Story
The Dog Days of Summer Bride

When two people unknowingly 
own the same dog, there's bound 
to be trouble!