Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Mad Marquis, Typography, and a Fox Hunt? (Wild West Sayings We Use Today)

We're back for another round of fun facts with words. If you're new, I'm novelist Janalyn Voigt, your guide on this journey into the mystery of words from the Wild West that we still use today. Fasten your seatbelts and put your chair in its full, upright position. Ready, set...

Wild West Sayings We Use Today, Part 22

I ask you, what do defense, typesetting, and a fox hunt have in common? Give up? All pertain to words that passed through the Wild West era and continue to make the rounds today. I found this month’s slate particularly interesting, and I suspect you will too. Enjoy!

On the Fence

A person straddling a fence, undecided which way to jump, is as apt to describe an uncommitted person today as it did nearly a hundred years ago. ‘On the fence’ came into use in 1828. Fence derives from the Middle English word 'fens,' short for 'defens,' (later spelled ‘defense’). Fences define and protect ownership. The correlation seems obvious. Refusing to own an opinion can offer certain advantages. It buys additional time to assess a situation, postpones a decision until more facts emerge, and possibly allows no decision to be made at all.

Historical Reference: "A man sitting on the top of a fence, can jump down on either side with equal facility." Dictionary of Americanisms by John Russell Bartlett (1848).

Example: “Dad is on the fence about whether to go to the opera with Mom.”

Out of Sorts

People in the Wild West spoke of being ‘out of sorts,’ when they felt slightly off physically and/or emotionally. We do the same today. I find it comforting that there’s a term to validate my not being quite myself sometimes. Apparently sage minds have agreed—for centuries.

Some believe that the term originated in the 17th-century from typographers calling sets of letters ‘sorts.’ Can you imagine a set of those getting scrambled or a letter going missing? It must have been frustrating! Even so, the first citation for ‘out of sorts’ appeared more than a century earlier and doesn’t reference typesetting. The term was recorded in The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood (1562).

Since printing itself dates from around 1440, perhaps one day researchers will uncover a connection with the idiom and resolve the question.

Historical Reference: "The letters that lye in every box of the case are separately called sorts in printers and founders language; thus a is a sort, b is a sort, c is a sort, etc.” Mechanick Exercises, or the Doctrine of Handy-Works by Joseph Moxon (1683).

Example: “I’m feeling out of sorts today, so I’d better stay home.”

Paint the Town Red

No one knows for certain the origin of this phrase for an unbridled night of mischievous fun. That doesn’t stop people from claiming they know how it arose. Some of the theories are as wild as a rowdy night out. Oscar Wilde claimed the phrase came from a popular missive you may recognize: "We are they who painted the world scarlet with sins,” The Inferno by Dante Alighieri (14th-Century).

Some people believe the phrase came about because a drunkard’s nose turns red. Comparisons have been drawn to bonfires on a hillside, flames fueling a steamship’s boilers, and fireworks exploding on Independence Day. Others link the term to carousing Wild West cowboys firing their guns into the air and threatening to paint the town with blood. That might sound far-fetched, but I discovered while researching the Montana Gold series that this sort of behavior actually occurred. Folks complained about it in their diaries and in letters to loved ones "back East." In Virginia City, Montana, one unfortunate fellow who got on his neighbors' nerves wound up swinging from the end of a rope.  

Folks in the town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, insist that ‘painting the town red’ came about due to a rather regrettable local event. In 1837, a fox hunt led by Henry Beresford, the third Marquees of Waterford (later dubbed the Mad Marquee) concluded with a raucous celebration. The town sustained vandalism, and policemen who dared to intervene were assaulted. Houses surrounding the square received an unfortunate coat of red paint. Historical evidence points to the validity of this event, but there’s no proof the Melton Mowbray incident inspired anyone else to want to ‘paint the town red.’ An association with the phrase remains unproven. Actually, most dictionaries attribute it to America, and it did crop up a lot in the West.

Historical Reference: “The boys painted the town red with firecrackers.” The Chicago Advance newspaper (1897); source: Oxford English Dictionary.

Example: “Put on your dancing shoes, and let’s paint the town red!”

Did any of the origins (or origin theories) of these words surprise you? For my part, I didn’t anticipate that painting the town red would have anything to do with cowboys in the Wild West. Psst....I've decided it would be fun to write something new about myself each month in the space below, so read on. I'd love it if you'd comment in kind.

What's New with Janalyn Voigt

I'll admit to struggling to reestablish my routine after the turn of the year. Perhaps you can relate. It helped to divide my time into four categories: sleep, household duties, writing tasks, and personal activities. I touch on each area every day but concentrate on one main focus.

Audiobook narrator, Jess Combs, is making good progress on Cheyenne Sunrise, book two in the Montana Gold series. She records several chapters, and I listen for anything I'd like her to change. My publisher reviews my requests and decides which of them to submit to the narrator. She makes the changes, and I check her work. I like that it's a careful process resulting from the meeting of several minds. Jess is quite talented, and I appreciate that she wants to read my books. I'll keep you posted on Cheyenne Sunrise, the audiobook. Meanwhile, Hills of Nevermore, book 1 is already available in audio.

New Release! 
The Promise Tree, the first novel in the brand new Montana Treasure series is set to release May 5th. If you enjoyed the Montana Gold series, you won't want to miss Montana Treasure. Based on true events in history, the books will explore the lives and loves of the Irish-American children born in the Montana Gold series. It's available in print and ebook formats at a substantial discount. If you are like me and enjoy the feel and smell of a physical book, you appreciate print preorder discounts. Here's a bit about the story. 
A preacher’s daughter shouldn’t encourage a troublemaker, no matter what her wayward heart desires. Liberty has always believed she should marry a man of God, but Jake doesn’t qualify. The promises they’d made at age twelve can’t change that. If only Jake would stop pursuing her, she might keep from falling in love with him. Jake fears he’ll lose Liberty to Beau, the new man in town. He doesn’t trust the smooth-talker—and certainly not with Liberty. Jake and Liberty must each overcome their own false beliefs. Only then can they experience the truth of God’s redeeming love. Preorder your copy of The Promise Tree.

You can step into the Montana Treasure series without having read the Montana Gold
 books. However, if you prefer to submerge yourself in a fictional world for a while, start with Hills of Nevermore, book 1. The four Montana Gold books are available in print and ebook. As mentioned, audiobook versions have also begun releasing!

Want to know more about the author? Here's my official bio: 

Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy creates breathtaking fictional worlds for readers. Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary Agency. Her memberships include American Christian Fiction Writers and Northwest Christian Writers Association. When she's not writing, Janalyn loves to discover worlds of adventure in the great outdoors with her family.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Thousand Islands Dressing

by Susan G Mathis

Who likes Thousand Islands Dressing? I do.

You probably use Thousand Islands dressing on your Reuben sandwiches, your salads, even your burgers. I like it on other sandwiches and even as a dip for veggies, chips, and French fries. But how did this creation come to be?

It’s a great story, really. And it began in the Thousand Islands area of upstate New York where there are 1864 islands. During the Gilded Age, the rich and famous bought islands and shoreline, building castles, mansions, and amazing summer homes. Many came from New York City to flee the heat and humidity—and stench—of the metropolitan summers. George Boldt was one of them.

George Boldt built Boldt Castle on Heart Island—in the heart of the Thousand Islands. Boldt was the manager of the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and was in the process of building an elegant stone castle for his wife—which is now a famous tourist stop.

Boldt’s friend and colleague, Oscar Tschirky, accompanied Mr. Boldt to the castle several times. As maitre d’hotel of the famous Waldorf-Astoria, he was always ready to create something special. Once, while on the Boldt’s yacht, Oscar realized that the crew left behind the salad dressing, so he concocted what’s now known as Thousand Island Dressing.

On the yacht, Oscar found the condiments mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, and Worcestershire sauce. He chopped some vegetables such as green olives, onions, and bell-peppers as well as a hard-boiled egg, and voila! He created a brand, new dressing. Boldt liked it so well that he began serving it at his hotel, and it became quite popular. And because of this impromptu creation, Oscar’s fame as a famous chef grew as well. He created other innovative and improbable dishes such as Waldorf Salad and Veal Oscar.

At the time, the country was in the midst of a salad craze. Iceberg lettuce was easily grown in California, and it was the dawn of the refrigerated train car. Chefs combined local greens with iceberg, and because mayonnaise cut some of the bitterness from the greens, the dressing was for the culinary elite, the rich and famous, and high-class establishments.

There’s a second, less interesting story about the dressing’s creation that’s largely been debunked but still moseys around the islands. This tale gives an innkeeper and a fishing guide’s wife the credit. Sophia Lalonde lived in Clayton, NY. She’d make food for the tourists who went on her husband’s fishing trips. On one such trip, May Irwin, the popular silent movie actress who had the first on-screen kiss, was said to have tasted the dressing and asked for the recipe, passing it on to Boldt who made it famous by serving it at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Whatever the origin may be, Thousand Islands Dressing originated in the Thousand Islands. There are many variations of the dressing today, but the base is mayonnaise and tomato sauce or ketchup and whatever else the cook puts in it. Because my novels are based in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age, many readers ask for the story. And now you know!

Here’s Susan’s Thousand Islands Dressing recipe:

Ingredients: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup relish, 2 tbs vinegar, 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ cup diced red pepper, ¼ c diced green onion, 1 diced hardboiled egg.

Combine ingredients in a bowl, stir and refrigerate overnight.

About Devyn’s Dilemma:

Longing for love, can she escape the shadows that follow her to Dark Island?

1910, Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than 20 times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.

Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and the Literary Titan Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Ynés Mexía - Mexican-American Botanist

 By Nancy J. Farrier

Ynés Mexía
Wikimedia Commons

Ynés Mexía was born in Washington DC in 1870. Her father was a Mexican diplomat and her mother was American. They moved often when she was a child and Ynés became very introverted. Her parents divorced and Ynés ended up in Mexico with her father, helping with his ranch and taking over after his death.


Hypericum Larcifolium Juss
By Ynés Mexía
Wikimedia Commons

Ynés married twice. Her first husband died early and her second husband bankrupted her business at the ranch. She divorced and suffered a mental breakdown. She traveled to San Francisco to seek help and was encouraged to become involved with the Sierra Club and the Save the Redwoods movement because she had a love for the outdoors and for plants. Ynés hated seeing the beautiful trees destroyed. 


At the age of 51, Ynés decided to get a degree in botany. She attended UC Berkeley where she developed a love of collecting and categorizing plants. 


Arbutus xalapensis
by Ynés Mexía
Wikimedia Commons

When she was 55, Ynés took her first trip to Mexico to collect plants. She traveled with a group from Stanford but soon realized she much preferred to travel alone. She left the group and collected over 1,500 specimens. Mimosa Mexiae, one of the plants she collected, was the first of many newly discovered plants that would be named after her. 


A year later she received funding to continue her trips. She was the first Mexican American female botanist and as her reputation grew, so did her sponsorships. She traveled all over the American continents and was first to collect specimens from the area now known as Denali National Park in Alaska.


Begonia ynesiae
Botanical drawing
By Ynés Mexía
Wikimedia Commons

If Ynés needed a guide on her trips, she tried her best to find someone indigenous to guide her because their wealth of information and knowledge helped her in her studies and collections. She often slept outdoors on the ground, something unheard of for a woman in this era. She traveled by horse, by foot, and by canoe in her explorations.


Ynés once wrote: “A well-known collector and explorer stated very positively that ‘it was impossible for a woman to travel alone in Latin America.’ I decided that if I wanted to become better acquainted with the South American Continent the best way would be to make my way right across it.” 


Dolichandra Unguis-cati
By Ynés Mexía
Wikimedia Commons

Ynés never shied from a challenge or turned back because she was a woman and could not continue. In her thirteen year career as a botanist and collector, she collected 145,000 specimens and identified 500 new species of plants, 50 of which were named after her. Mexianthus Robinson (Asteraceae) and Spulula Mains (Pucciniaceae) were two new genera she found. 


While on an expedition to Mexico in 1938, Ynés became sick. She returned to the United States and found she had lung cancer. She died soon after at the age of 68. Much of her research benefits botanists today. Her careful collecting and labeling of plants, and her determination to go where women didn’t go, make her a remarkable woman of note. Here is a short, but very interesting, YouTube video about Ynés Mexía's work

Have you ever heard of Ynés Mexía? It’s hard for me to imagine sleeping on the hard ground at my age, but she did that without complaint. What an amazing woman. What are your thoughts? 

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

The evolution of eye glasses


As in previous posts, I’ll be sharing something else from my husband’s antique collection. There are three pair of eyeglasses stored in an antique glass bookcase. Each has a history.

First, I’d like to share a bit of the history of eyeglasses. An article in Wikipedia mentioned Emperor Nero used an emerald as a visual aid. An ancient book, Ptolmy’s Optic, circa 1012, describes the use of convex lenses to magnify images. This was at the same time the reading stone became popular.

Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries, various people experimented with lenses used for distance reading. Around the second half of the 13th century, the first eyeglasses were developed.

Dominican friar Giordana Pisa (c. 1255-1311) mentioned glasses in his writings, “It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision…And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered…I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it and I talked to him.”

Without doing extensive research, we can trace the use of eyewear through the ages in various portraits. The subjects either wearing glasses or holding them. These early glasses corrected only farsightedness and presbyopia (poor eyesight due to aging).

By the 1600s lenses were being developed for nearsightedness. Benjamin Franklin is credited with creating the first bifocals. And in 1825, British astronomer George Airy designed lenses for correcting astigmatism.

The first frames for eyeglasses were very primitive. The rivet spectacles were two magnifying glasses riveted together by the handles so that they could grip the nose. As eyeglasses became more available, users either held them in place with their hand or by exerting pressure on the nose, pince-nez. 

Another way to secure glasses was with a ribbon passed over the wearer's head and secured with a hat.

In the 1700s a variety of glasses had attached handles such as the scissors. These could be folded and carried in your pocket.

Eyeglasses until the mid- 20th century were referred to as medical devices. Theodore Roosevelt often wore glasses in photographs. Over time, the stigma of eyeglasses being unattractive changed as various celebrities wore them, such as Buddy Holly, John Lennon and John Denver. Character actors wore glasses to represent intelligence and superheros such as Superman and Wonder Woman used them as their alter-ego disguise.

Harry Truman   

Marketing and redefining glasses as eye wear transformed them into a fashion statement.

Now let’s take a look at the three pairs of glasses from my husband’s ancestors. The pince- nez glasses were worn by one of my husband’s great-grandmothers, circa 1900.

The second pair belonged to his great-great-aunt. Note they are six-sided and bifocals. The earpieces are simple wires that are bent to wrap around the ears to fit comfortably on the face. The glasses’ case was stamped “the Haley’s eye infirmary of Centralia, Illinois.” I find calling the eye doctor’s office an infirmary less appealing than the optometrist.

The third pair are safety glasses. My husband’s great aunts called them threshing glasses. The tinted lenses protect from bright sunlight while the screening on the sides kept debris out of their wearer’s eyes. The first patent for safety glasses was in 1880, filed by African-American Powell Johnson. He designed them for firefighters and those who worked with blast furnaces. There is no picture of the design available. But they were tinted like the safety glasses pictured to protect the eyes from the bright light.

Families kept old glasses and passed them on to other family member who might need them. Today, eye glass wearers donate their old glasses to the Lion’s Club or other organizations who send them to third world countries to be used by those unable to afford to purchase glasses.

Do any of you save old eyeglasses? Do you have any antique glasses at your house?

Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer. She has been featured in many periodicals over the last thirty years. Her historical romance Secrets & Charades won the Editor Choice, Maxwell Award and Serious Writer Medal. Her contemporary romance, New Duet placed second in the 2019 Serious Writer Awards and a finalist in the 2019 Selah Awards. Cindy is a member of ACFW, Mentor for Word Weavers. founding member of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers and Christian Writers’ Guild alumni. She loves to encourage new writers on their journey. Cindy and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois.


Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyehuff,

twitter @CindyErvinHuff



                                                        Rescuing Her Heart

As her husband's evil deeds and abuse haunt a mail-order bride from the grave, can she learn to trust again and open her heart to true love?

On visitation rounds as a lay preacher, the last thing rancher Jed Holt expects is to be shot at from the barn next to a burned-down homestead. But the soot-covered woman hiding inside needs protecting, and Jed is the man to do it whether she likes it or not.

Jed has his own nightmares from a POW camp and understands Delilah better than she knows. Can two broken people form a forever bond?  Preorder paperback  Releases July 6, 2021.


Friday, April 16, 2021

"It is not the Critic who Counts"

By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Asthma, poor eyesight, bouts of illness: Theodore Roosevelt had more against him than for him. 

However, that did not stop Theodore Roosevelt from achieving his life goals.

He loved nature. Butterflies and birds were among his list of favorites. Often, the odors emulating from his bureau drawers smelled of dead mice and moles. His boyhood dream was to be a cowboy and travel out west. However, his ill health was a drawback. Bouts of sickness would plague him throughout his lifetime.

What Roosevelt did have in his favor—his abundant energy, an eager mind, and a willingness to learn.

He was born in New York City on October 27, 1858, to Theodore Roosevelt senior, a businessman. The Van Roosevelts came to America from Holland in 1644. Roosevelt's mother was Martha Bulloch, from a respected Georgia family.

Teedie (later changed to Teddy), as his family nicknamed him, was the second of four children. Teedie, reared in a well-to-do family, had servants who would come at his beck and call. Teedie’s passion for nature and the outdoors developed into an even stronger love for people and the oppressed.

Perhaps his strong desire to help the underdog evolved from his own inhibitions and the feeling of never quite measuring up to his peers. Little did Teedie know that, in the years to come, the American public would lovingly nickname him Teddy.

Roosevelt could not have dreamed God had a plan for him to become, at the age of forty-two, the youngest man ever to be president of the United States of America.

Because of his father's determination that Teddy would not be the weakling his health dictated, Teddy’s father built a gymnasium for him, complete with punching bags, dumbbells, and the horizontal bar. Teddy threw himself into exercise, conditioning his body to the rigors of sport and life.

Under his father’s strict orders, Teddy learned boxing and the value of hard work. As the years progressed, these lessons served him well when he traveled out west.

Theodore entered Harvard in 1876. Theodore was interested in everything. In 1881, at the age of twenty-three, he was elected to the New York Assembly. By 1884 Roosevelt became interested in national politics.

In the fall of 1878, Theodore met a lovely Boston girl named Alice Lee. They were married two years later in the fall of 1880 after he graduated from Harvard. His daughter was born on February 12, 1884, and Alice Roosevelt died two days later. Sadly, Theodore's mother had just died of typhoid fever!

He turned away from politics and poured his heart into his Dakota ranch, located on the Little Missouri River. His bottle-top eyeglasses earned him the title of “Four-eyes.” The rugged westerners soon realized that this four-eyes could throw a punch!

Roosevelt’s stamina and staunch determination earned him the respect of his new comrades. He rode like a cowboy, roped like a cowboy, and fiercely stood up to thieves, rustlers, and bad men, just like a cowboy.

As God would have it, one terrible winter demolished Roosevelt's cattle. His idea of becoming a cattle baron evaporated and washed down the Missouri River as his dead cattle had.

In the fall of 1886, Independents and Republicans asked him to run for Mayor of New York. However, Roosevelt took up writing and wrote "The Winning of the West." He remarried that year.

By the time Roosevelt reached thirty-eight, he realized what his life vocation should be—politics. The newly-elected President McKinley named Roosevelt as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, an older man, was feeling his age. Roosevelt was biting at the bit to take on more responsibilities, especially with a war brewing.

Roosevelt was not shy in letting his feelings be known, “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.” He voiced in a speech upon taking office, “The diplomat is the servant, not the master, of the soldier.”

Americans always had a soft heart toward the abused, and Spain's brutal methods to halt the people of Cuba's rebellion had Americans in an uproar.

Roosevelt felt in his heart that this rebellion would not end without interference from America. So, in the months leading up to the Spanish-American War, he prepared. As he had conditioned himself as a youth with his barbells and punching bag, Teddy called on his staunch friends from the west and his New York Polo buddies from the east to train for the unexpected.

After an anti-Spanish riot in Havana, the United States sent the USS Maine to protect U.S. citizens and property. Upon arrival, on February 15, 1898, an explosion sent the USS Maine to the sea's bottom!

President McKinley declared war on Spain on April 21, 1898. Roosevelt’s Roughriders were ill-equipped and inexperienced, yet Roosevelt led his Roughriders to victory against Spain, as I tell of in my novel, Destiny’s Whirlwind.

Neither Roosevelt nor McKinley knew that the Spanish-American War would lead to a deciding role in the interests of Europe and the rest of the world upon the onset of The Great War, World War I. But God did.

In 1901 Roosevelt was elected Vice-President to stand alongside President McKinley. With the assassination of President McKinley, Roosevelt assumed the office of President of the United States just six months after the 1901 election.

In my novels Destiny's Whirlwind and Destiny of Heart, we follow the pathway of this great man God took from an asthmatic and a weak-eyed boy to become one of America's greatest presidents.

I include only one of Roosevelt's enduring thought-provoking words. Many more of which you will find between the pages of my novels:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Destiny’s Whirlwind:  Book 2: A death-bed promise, a dashing Rough Rider, the parable of the sower takes on unimaginable consequences.

A disgruntled in-law and a vindictive lawyer places the McConnell clan in the clutches of life’s tangled web of deception and greed. As Collina fights to keep her promise to her father, the words of Esther 8:6 ring in her thoughts, "How can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people?”


Destiny’s Whirlwind by Catherine Brakefield is a beautiful inspirational love story that will reel you in and win your heart…The story is beautifully written and filled with triumph and heartbreak. I couldn’t put it down…” L.S. Amazon Reader.

 Catherine says, "My readers inspire my writing!"

She is an award-winning author of Wilted Dandelions, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz with Destiny. Her faith-based Destiny series is: Swept into Destiny, Destiny's Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz into Destiny.

She has written two pictorial history books.  Images of America; The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County. 

She is a longtime Michigan resident and lives with her husband of 49 years and their Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township.  She loves traveling the byroads across America and spoiling her two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!


The World Book Encyclopedia Volume 15

The Theodore Roosevelt Association


How Theodore Roosevelt Fell in Love with the American West



Thursday, April 15, 2021

Scottish English Wars, Skirmishes and Reiving

England and Scotland have had a tumultuous past. Scotland is said to have been founded as a kingdom around 843. England became a sovereign state in 927. The two kingdoms have fought many a battle over land. Because of this, the border between the two countries fluctuated with the strength of a nation. If I counted correctly there were at least 35 wars and battles with just England! The official 'Border Wars' started in 1000.

Because of this animosity between the two kingdoms, reivers arose who would go over the border and steal cattle, burn crops, raid houses, and burn buildings and homes. This type of activity went on during the end of the 13th and into the 14th century. Reivers were not only Scottish coming down to reive and raid England, but Englishmen also crossed the border north to take advantage of the lawlessness at the border. 

Many times the medieval time period as a whole is portrayed as lawless where men and lords could do anything with little repercussions. But that wasn't the case. Law and ordered was enforced if it wasn't the borderland. Lords were held to a high standard and couldn't do as they please as so often portrayed.

But then there was the border land. The kings of both countries tired of the battles and skirmishes that never seemed to end. The wars and skirmishes never really solved anything. The border line may move north or south until the next war but the fighting continued on. The kings had pretty much given up on this part of their country and any sort of peace for it. Instead, they concentrated on other things leaving the borderland wild and unforsaken. Castles were built near the border to add some sense of security for the people and property. But the border lords couldn't contain the lawlessness.

The warring between the countries continued well on into the late 16th century. The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh took place near Musselburgh Scotland in 1547 and was the last set piece battle between Scotland and England before the Union of the Crowns. It was a devastating defeat for Scotland and became known as Black Saturday.

Within a few years, Scotland felt the pains of a major religious reformation. England, would experience their own difficulty under Queen Mary I. Because of the internal difficulty both countries were more focused on their own problems than fighting each other.

Peace was finally ensured when James VI of Scotland became King of England in 1603. He had been raised as a Protestant and was also the son of Mary, Queen of the Scots.

Trying to stay true to history in my new release, Sword of Trust, Bryce, an English lord living on the borderland is forever fighting the Scottish reivers, but one strong willed female reiver really gets his blood pumping.

Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love. Bryce Warwick discovers the “boy” caught with his livestock is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancée who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard's distrust of the nobles.

With old wounds in need of healing and adversaries who would ruin their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.
The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She 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 with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 6 pekin ducks.