Meet Cassie Barton from Tracie Peterson’s Under the Starry Skies

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My name is Cassandra Barton, but people just call me Cassie.  I live in San Marcial, New Mexico which is on the Rio Grande River.  It’s a hub for the Santa Fe Railroad beings it’s about half way between Topeka and Los Angeles.  I work as a seamstress with the bulk of my work coming in from the railroad men.  I like this kind of work because I am my own boss and can do as much or as little work as I need to do. This turns out to be a very good thing because right off the bat, I break my wrist in a little accident and can’t sew for six weeks.

Brandon Dubarko makes sure I don’t suffer too much. He was a good friend and co-worker of my father’s. He works for the Santa Fe Railroad (just like my father). Brandon is soft-spoken and a deep thinker.  He’s got a world of sorrows to deal with, but he never talks about it. I’m not at all sure what’s weighing him down. I know he really misses my father…and so do I. 

My father died earlier this year when his train derailed. Brandon thinks there was foul play and that someone actually caused the derailment, but I’m not sure that’s the case.  Trains have accidents all the time and it doesn’t take much to derail a train. But, if someone did cause the derailment, then they murdered my father and his fireman.

My father and I were really close, especially after Mother died and my sister Melissa moved to Denver. My deepest desire is that Melissa and I can be close again. After she moved off and married, we aren’t nearly as close as we used to be.  Of course, now she’s a mother and that is bound to take up a lot of her time. 

My future, once my wrist mends, is questionable. A part of me wants to stick around San Marcial, but another part thinks about going to Denver to be closer to Melissa. Of course, at my age (32) I would like to think there was still a chance for romance, but I’m not sure that’s true. It would be a dream come true however, if someone decided I was worth loving.  There was one man…a long time ago.  We were in love and planned to marry, but then my mother died and I needed to care for Melissa.  I don’t know but that it might have been my only chance for love.

I’ve always felt I had to be strong for my family, but now that Mother and Father are dead and Melissa’s married, it’s just me and I’m not real sure what I’m going to do. I know that God has a plan for me, however.  I’ve put my trust in Him since I was little, and I’m not about to stop now. My relationship with the Lord is the thing I value most in life.  He will always see me through.


Award-winning novelist, Tracie Peterson, has been praised for
her captivating historical fiction novels. While each novel weaves
a different tale, Peterson packs her signature elements of history,
action, and romance into each work while also offering
underlying life lessons. In her newest novel, Under the Starry Skies,
Peterson crafts a story about facing your past and learning to
forgive others and yourself.

Interview with Julia Schultz from A Gem of Truth – by Kimberley Woodhouse

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

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Tell us something about where you live.

I just moved to the Grand Canyon, and I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth. There’s so much to explore here, I think I could spend a lifetime hiking around and not see the entire thing.

Where did you grow up?

Mostly Texas.

Texas is a large state… I’ve been through Dallas. What was your favorite part of growing up there?

There were a lot of cattle. There’s not a lot of cattle here. Some people think of the Grand Canyon as dry and desert like, but there’s so much life and beauty here. I like this much more than Texas.

I can tell you really love your new location. What brought you there?

I’ve been a Harvey Girl for a while now and have always wanted to work at the magnificent El Tovar Hotel. You could say it’s been a dream of mine. When I received word of my transfer, I was ecstatic.

Sounds like a dream come true. But isn’t it difficult to start over again in a new place?

Not as hard as you might think. I actually am enjoying this fresh start. New people, new job. I might even be up for a promotion which is very exciting.

That is very exciting. You must have a lot of experience as a Harvey Girl.

I do. I’ve met some of the most fascinating people doing what I do.

Tell us about someone fascinating that you’ve met. 

Oh, there’s so many! But I did meet the richest man in the world. 

You don’t say. You’ve met Mr. Rockefeller?

Yes! And he gave me this coin. It’s actually a wonderful story… but… I should save that for another time.

All right. Who are the special people in your life? You must miss them a lot.

My parents have been gone for a while. So it’s just me. 

Do you hope to meet someone special someday?

By the twinkle in your eye, I can see that you are quite the romantic. Like the other girls, I’m always hopeful. But I’m content to relish all the interesting people I meet until then. In fact, the other day, I met a man named Chris—he’s a jeweler by trade. I’ve also met some of the Hopi people. They are incredibly talented and showcase their skills and wares at the Hopi House. 

I’ve wanted to visit the Hopi House, I hear it’s very unique.

It was designed by a woman. Did you know that? Ms. Mary Colter. Another amazing story.

You do have so many interesting stories, don’t you? For my last question, I’m sure our readers would like to know if you have any dreams for the future?

There are so many! But I really want to find people who care about me for me. People have always been fascinated with my stories, but I wish they would find me fascinating. I long to be somebody. I don’t know how I’ll accomplish that, but I can always dream. 

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!


Kimberley Woodhouse has won multiple awards for her
historical novels, which are filled with adventure and romance.
In A Gem of Truth, book two in the SECRETS OF THE CANYON
series, Woodhouse plunges readers deep into the recesses of the
Grand Canyon in search of a legendary treasure. Themes of
honesty, love, and one’s worth regardless of their past are
intricately woven together in this captivating historical narrative.

A Chat with Olive Alexander from Come Down Somewhere by Jennifer L. Wright

Welcome to NovelPASTimes! Today we’re joined by Miss Olive Alexander of Alamogordo, New Mexico—

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Olive: I’m not from Alamogordo.

I’m sorry?

Olive: I’m not from Alamogordo. I’m living there with my grandma—for now—but I’m not from there. I’m from my family’s ranch on the Jornada, near the Chupadera Mesa.

I beg your pardon. Sorry about that.

Olive: It’s alright.

Well, how about we start with you telling us a little about yourself?

Olive: Okay. Well, I’m fifteen years old. Lived in New Mexico all my life on the ranch built by my grandfather after he emigrated from Russia. My dad died a few years ago, so my uncle Hershel—his brother—moved in to help out. Not that I’d call what he does “help.” He mainly drinks and sulks, complaining about how the world is going to pot. My mom and I ignore him for the most part, and so did my brother, Avery. But now . . . I don’t know . . . Avery follows him around like some kind of puppy.

Why do you think that is?

Olive: I don’t know. Maybe it’s got something to do with the war? Avery tried to enlist but couldn’t on account of color blindness. I think that put a chip on his shoulder. Made him feel like less of a man somehow or like he didn’t matter. Maybe joining in on Hershel’s blustering and ranting makes Avery feel important again.

You say “the war” like it puts a bad taste in your mouth. Why is that?

Olive: Now look, I’m not anti-war. I think Hitler’s evil, and there weren’t no excuse for what the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor. I’m behind our troops 110 percent. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m just . . . well, I guess frustrated is the right word. Everyone keeps telling us that we need to do our part for the war effort but what is my part? Seems like nobody nowhere had need of me. Not even here at home.

What do you mean?

Olive: You said it yourself right there at the beginning of the interview. Sayin’ I was from Alamogordo and all. Why did you believe I was from Alamogordo?

Because that’s what your information sheet said. Your address was listed as a house on Delaware Avenue, Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Olive: Exactly. I’m not from Alamogordo but I’m living there now because my mom shipped me off. Wouldn’t let me live on the ranch anymore, even though Avery’s leaving and they need the help. They don’t need my help anymore. 

What do you mean she wouldn’t let you live on the ranch anymore?

Olive: Well, on accounts of the Army moving in.

The Army?

Olive: Yeah, the Army. They enacted something called “eminent domain,” which gave them the right to take over our ranch for the war effort. There’s some sort of project they’re working on nearby, and they need the space to house construction workers. It’s top secret. Hush-hush. 

The Army is working on a top secret military project here? In the middle of nowhere?

Olive: Why you gotta say it like that? Is there something wrong with southern New Mexico?

Not at all. It’s just so . . . isolated. And desolate.

Olive: I know. I like it that way. But I sure don’t understand why the Army picked this place out of the entire United States to do . . . well, whatever it is they’re doing. Especially since it means I’ve been kicked out of my home. And with it being so top secret, no one can even really tell me why.

Well, can’t you just view this as your part of the war effort? Everyone is sacrificing, right? This is just your particular brand of sacrificing.

Olive: I don’t mind sacrificing for the war effort. We’ve been rationing and going without plenty of things, just like everyone else. What’s hard about sacrificing my home is that, out of my entire family, I’m the only one doing it. Avery’s leaving—finally got accepted into the Army after all—but both Ma and Uncle Hershel get to stay on the ranch. I’m the only one who has to leave. Why is that?

I . . . I don’t know.

Olive: Exactly.

Well, even if it’s not your preferred location, surely there must be something good about living in Alamogordo. Something that perhaps eases your burden a little bit?

Olive: Well, my grandma’s here. Out on the ranch, I don’t get to see her much, so it’s nice to be able to get to know her a little better, even with all her silly notions about God and church and all. And I like the soda fountains downtown. Can’t get that out in the country. But the best thing?

Go on.

Olive: *smiles sheepishly* I don’t want to talk about it.

You’re smiling though. It must be something really good if you’re smiling. It’s the first one I’ve seen all day.

Olive: Oh, it is good. A tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed kind of good. But I still don’t want to talk about it.

*Grins* Fair enough. Well, thank you for talking to me, Olive. I wish you the best of luck in Alamogordo and pray this war ends quickly so you can get back home as soon as possible.

Olive: You sound like my grandma. You can keep your prayers, but I thank you all the same.


Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home.

She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, one grumpy old dachshund, and her newest obsession—a guinea pig named Peanut Butter Cup.

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Introducing Mollie Sheehan Ronan from Jane Kirkpatrick’s Beneath the Bending Skies

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Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today.

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us more about your talents and what you love to do? 

Thank you for the invitation to tell you about myself, Mollie Sheehan Ronan. I’m a shy person though some would dispute that because I do love to recite moving pieces like Chief Black Hawk’s 1832 surrender speech or a Shakespeare sonnet. When a piano is around, I can play it – and the organ too – and I love to sing. But recitation is my favorite. I’d do that after supper at our establishment that my step-mother ran while my dear father worked as a freighter in the Montana mines and was sometimes gone for a year at a time. I suppose I enjoyed the praise and the compliments about my very long auburn hair, so long I could sit on it. Best was getting to see stage performances that my father would take me to. Such plays were a great pastime in the mining camps when winter snows kept miners from panning or sluicing for gold. I loved reading fairy tales from Ireland especially and dreamed of falling in love with my own prince charming. And I did!  

You mentioned that you met your prince charming. What happened?

Sadly, my father didn’t approve even though my fiancé had been my father’s best friend! My father was so adamant that we break off our engagement, that he moved our entire family (step-mother, sister Kate and brother Jimmy) out of Montana to San Juan Capistrano in California. Quite a different landscape, I can tell you. Beautiful, bougainvillea blooming, eternal summer, but I did miss the mountains. I thought my life with Peter would be no more. I considered joining the convent in Los Angeles but one of the Sisters counseled me that service to God was not to be an escape from the world but a way to enter more deeply into service to all God’s children. Well, God had other things in store and through a series of twists and turns, Peter and I found each other again. I think you’ll like that story, but I won’t go into it here. My life then did become a kind of fairy tale, living happily ever after with my husband who was involved in the newspaper industry, mining, politics and, of course, he was very active with our growing family.

You mentioned that “Family is everything” to you. But going against your father’s will led to some conflicts within your own family. 

Family is indeed everything to me and I hated hurting my father, who still didn’t approve of my husband despite his being a fine provider and loving husband and father, one who encouraged rather than controlled his children. He felt Peter being 10 years older than me was too old but I don’t think my father would ever have approved of anyone who might fall in love with his “little girl.”

How did your language skills and your desire to make everyone feel welcome aid you in being the wife of the Indian Agent among the Flathead People? 

Peter and I had some disappointments but then when we were the most discouraged, a new door opened and I entered a world of the Flathead People, — the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend D’Oreille tribes in Montana. We lived among them for the next seventeen years. Every day I learned that the way I saw the world was not the only way to see it. My best friend after Peter is a Salish woman, Shows No Anger. How I love her! I learned so much from her about the land and family and that honoring one’s father meant listening to my heart and focusing on my own family. I do love words and kept a journal and wrote my memoir. One word I especially love is hearth. It comes from the second century and can be translated as focus.The hearth was the center of the home. It’s where people were fed, stories told, comfort offered. It was where the heat was. The farther one moves from the heat, the more easily one can lose focus. I focused on the hearth of my family and always had an open door to strangers too. Imagine a table that could seat sixteen. My husband sat across from me in the middle, never at the ends. We always wanted to keep the focus on our guests and family to be sure they were well fed. And thus, we were well fed too, with family, friends and faith. 

I hope you like my story of living Beneath the Bending Skies.  


About the Book:

Bestselling and award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick has brought
the West to life in her inspiring novels based upon true events. Each
tale looks at the hidden lives of women whose universal struggles,
bravery, indominable spirit, and ingenuity helped form the American
West. In Beneath the Bending Skies, Kirkpatrick uses her signature style
to delve into the life of Mollie Sheehan, who had to forgo her father’s
blessing in order to seek her happily ever after. Her life-altering
decision became the catalyst for her movement to aid the Nez Perce
tribe during the mid-1800s.


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-
winning author of 40 books, including The Healing of Natalie Curtis,

Something Worth Doing, One More River to Cross, Everything She Didn’t Say,
All Together in One Place, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver,
This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the
prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her
works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for
Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award.
Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her
husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar. Learn more
at www.jkbooks.com.

A Chat With Coraline Baxter from Regina Scott’s A View Most Glorious

Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Coraline Baxter! We are pleased you stopped by today.

A View Most Glorious by Regina Scott

Cora: I’m delighted to be here.R Thank you for the invitation.

Of course. It’s not often we have a guest who plans to climb a mountain. What gave you the idea to summit Mt. Rainier?

Cora: I’m a member of the Tacoma Women’s Suffrage Association. We hope to restore the vote for women. Washington State’s had it twice now, but the courts keep overturning the laws. We intend to prove that a woman can climb a mountain. And if women can climb mountains, why shouldn’t they vote?

Do you have any experience climbing?

Cora: Regrettably, no. I’ve been attending college and becoming one of the first women accountants in Tacoma, the City of Destiny, as we like to call it. And with the Panic of 1893, the bank where I work has been very busy trying to help those who lost everything. But I’ve hired a guide, Mr. Nathan Hardee, who comes highly recommended, for all he seems a bit unreasonable.

Unreasonable how?

Cora: He says to reach the summit I must have stamina, determination, and a willingness to obey his direction, without question. I told him he’ll learn I have plenty of stamina and determination, but I’ve never been good at obeying. He’ll simply have to accustom himself to the fact.

And you feel comfortable this fellow can get you safely to the top and back, through the wilderness?

Cora: I do. I can’t really explain it. There’s something about him. He’s tall as a fir, with eyes as green. He carries himself with a confidence few men manage. And there’s a stillness about him, as if he’s discovered his own worth and is satisfied with that. My stepfather told me Nathan was once a member of high society, like me, but I find that hard to credit. Why would he leave wealth and prestige behind to live in a cabin in the woods?

Well, if you don’t reach the top, you’ll still have position and family to return to.

Cora: That’s the problem. I won’t. My mother and I have never seen eye to eye, but she’s put her foot down this time. If I don’t reach the summit, I must return home and marry the man she’s picked out for me. She finds local industrialist Cash Kincaid perfect, but I know the truth. He’s cunning and cruel, and he’s made it clear he will stop at nothing to make me his bride. So I will reach the summit, whatever it costs.

I can see what you mean about determination. We wish you the best of luck. Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!


Regina Scott

Regina Scott is the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance,
including A Distance Too Grand and Nothing Short of Wondrous. Her writing has
won praise from Booklist and Library Journal, and she was twice awarded the
prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of
history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in
the name of research. She and her husband of 30 years live south of Tacoma,
Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier. Learn more at www.reginascott.com.

A Conversation with Esther Hathaway from Brides of the Old West, A Novella Collection by Amanda Cabot

Novel Pastimes: Good morning, Mrs. Hathaway. Three different people told me this was the best bakery in Cheyenne, and my nose says they were right. 

Esther: You’re probably smelling my cinnamon rolls. They’re such a favorite with customers that even when I make an extra batch, I sell every one. Fortunately, I have two left today. Would you like one? You’re welcome to eat it here. That’s why I have those tables. Some people don’t want to wait until they get home to have a bite of something sweet.

Novel Pastimes: I can see why people recommend the Mitchell-Hathaway Bakery. Good food, good service, a friendly owner. Does your daughter help with the baking? I heard she works here too.

Esther: Susan has been a great help. To be very honest, I don’t know what I’ll do after she’s married and living at the fort, but of course I can’t tell her that. I know she and Michael will be as happy together as Susan’s parents were.

Novel Pastimes: Then she’s not your daughter?

Esther: No. I couldn’t love her more if she were, but Susan’s my niece. I’ve never been married.

Novel Pastimes: Oh, I’m so sorry. I just assumed …

Esther: You’re not the first to make that mistake. Now, would you like a cup of coffee to go with that cinnamon roll?

Novel Pastimes: Only if you agree to join me. I’d like to get to know you better, Miss Hathaway.

Esther: Please call me Esther. 

Novel Pastimes: Thank you, Esther. I’m a newcomer to Cheyenne, so I hope you’ll tell me a bit about it. It’s so different from the cities in the East.

Esther: That it is, but I love it. You probably know Cheyenne’s the capital of the territory and a major stop on the Union Pacific, but that’s just the beginning. The city has so much to offer its residents. There’s the opera house – the only one west of the Mississippi – and the InterOcean hotel is reputed to have the best food in the city. And then there are the millionaires’ mansions. I haven’t been inside any of them, but I enjoy walking down Ferguson Street and admiring the cattle barons’ homes. I shouldn’t neglect to mention the parks. If you haven’t strolled through City Park yet, you should. It’s beautiful.

Novel Pastimes: You’re making me glad I’ve come. It sounds as if the city has everything to make me feel welcome, but there must be something lacking if an attractive woman like you isn’t married. Surely there are eligible bachelors, maybe even one of the cattle barons you mentioned.

Esther: I don’t need a husband. What I need is an artist.

Novel Pastimes: An artist?

Esther: It’s a family tradition to have the bride and groom’s portraits on a special Christmas ornament. I want Susan and Michael to have their Christmas star, but so far, I haven’t found anyone who can do that. 

Novel Pastimes: There must be someone who can help you. Even though I’ve just moved here, I feel confident of that. 

Esther: I hope you’re right.

Novel Pastimes: I am. I’m also sure of one other thing besides the fact that you bake the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted. I hope you don’t think I’m being forward in saying this, but I’m certain there’s also a husband for you here in Cheyenne.

Esther: At my age? That might require a miracle.

Novel Pastimes: Christmas is the season of miracles, isn’t it?


Four unlikely couples.

Four unexpected chances at happiness.

Four unforgettable stories of love and faith in the Old West.

The Christmas Star Bride

Can a bakery owner who lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago and an itinerant artist who lost more than love during the war find a second chance at happiness, or is love only for the young? 

The Fourth of July Bride

She needs money to pay for her mother’s desperately needed eye surgery. He needs a way to stop his meddling mother from choosing his bride. Can the answer be a temporary courtship? 

The Depot Bride 

Can a cattle baron’s daughter who’s practically betrothed to another man and a struggling writer who fears he has nothing to offer her find happiness as they create a commemorative book to celebrate the creation of the new Union Pacific depot in Cheyenne?

The Unmatched Bride

When a confirmed spinster matchmaker accepts an unusual assignment and helps a wealthy widower choose the right mate for his daughter, can more than one couple have a chance at true love?


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than forty books and a variety of novellas. Her books have been honored with a starred review from Publishers Weekly and have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. 

Social Media Links

www.amandacabot.com

https://www.facebook.com/amanda.j.cabot

https://twitter.com/AmandaJoyCabot/

http://amandajoycabot.blogspot.com/

A Chat With Natalie from Jane Kirkpatrick’s The Healing of Natalie Curtis

Tell us something about where you live. That’s not an easy question to answer. I grew up in New York but I’ve spent the last years of my life traveling all over the Southwest and West. I lived in Old Orabi, a Hopi village in Arizona. And I stayed in Yuma, Arizona for a time. Then my work – well my passion really – took my brother and me and our horse drawn wagon all across the country with my Edison machine making recordings of Indian music I feared would be lost due to a law that forbid Indian people to sing or perform or speak their language. The West is my home. But I guess you could say now that my heart is in New Mexico. Santa Fe to be exact.

Do you have an occupation? What do you like or dislike about your work? Oddly, I guess you could say I formed a new occupation called “ethnomusicologist,” someone who studies the origin of music especially that of another culture. I love this work! Recording and writing down the notes of complex music of Indigenous people has consumed my life. I guess you could also say that I’m a writer since I worked on the book, which was published even though it was 575 pages long! It’s called The Indians’ Book. I don’t really feel like I “wrote” it. I was “but a pencil in the Indians’ hands.” The only thing I disliked was having to edit out anything!

Who are the special people in your life?  First of all, my brother George. I have five siblings but George is the one who helped save me. I had a breakdown when I was in my early twenties and it was George who lured me west to find healing. He thought my healing would come from the sunshine and desert air, but it came through the music of the Indian people I met like Mina, a Hopi child who stole my heart. There were others, my parents, of course, who encouraged my passion for preserving Indian music and Charlotte Mason, one of my benefactors. (I needed money to travel throughout the west).  And then there’s President Theodore Roosevelt who I enlisted in my efforts. He might not think he was special in my life but I sure think he is!

What is your heart’s deepest desire? To see Native Americans free to celebrate their music without fear of repercussions as they experienced in the late 1800s.

What are you most afraid of? Living a life without purpose and for me that means falling back into letting my parents take care of me in our lovely New York home. The West, with its beauty and its demands, gave me courage to try new things even as I walked into uncertainty. Also, I don’t like snakes.

Do you have a cherished possession? I do! It’s an Acoma Pueblo pot, beautifully crafted and painted with an aloe stem. It was a gift and part of what I love about it is the story the Acoma people tell about their pottery. Once the pots were shaped and fired, they were so fragile that they often broke. The shards would be taken to the desert and discarded but also offered as a gift back to the earth that had first given up the clay. One day, an old woman pounded the fired shards back into powder that was added to new clay. When those pots with the broken pieces and the new pieces were fired, the pots were not only beautiful but strong. I always liked that image of who we are: broken by tragedy and trial, fired by the challenges of life. But when we allow newness to come into our life, we become not only beautiful but strong. I’ve kept that metaphor all along my journey toward my personal healing.

What have you learned about yourself in the course of your story? Many things. I used to be very disciplined with my music, practicing for hours. I thought it would be my future. But when I had my breakdown, music no longer held its sway with me and I languished until my brother invited me West. Part of what I learned is that a passion can burn a person up. Guilt can take a person down but both purpose and regret can also fire new desires. I learned that I was stronger than I thought and that when I took on another’s cause, I had even more energy than when I was only thinking of myself. Giving myself to others, that’s what really brought on the healing.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve kept learning and exploring. I have traveled by horseback to outlying Indian villages, where I recorded Morning Songs and lullabies. But, I’ve also been exploring how people treat each other. The Code of Offenses was a law passed in 1883 to force Indian people to give up their music, language and customs. I spent my life finding ways to break this code and learned that one small woman, when motivated by love, can make a difference in the lives of others. It’s a good lesson!

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of forty books, including Something Worth Doing, One More River to Cross, Everything She Didn’t Say, All Together in One Place, A Light in the Wilderness, The Memory Weaver, This Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and
the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar.

Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.

A Chat with Colonel Theodore Roosevelt as Depicted in Justin Teerlinck’s Squabble of the Titans

We decided to interview Mr. Roosevelt about his recent expedition to the Olympic Peninsula in search of the mythic “Saysquack” a.k.a. “Sasquatch.”

Can you explain the etymology of  “Saysquack” for our readers?

It comes from the Quilliniklat word literally meaning “He who says quack.” It’s the sound the creature is believed to make.

What do you hope to gain by hunting the Saysquack?

I want to be the first to find out just what he is, how he lives, and what his flavor profile may be. My aim is also to preserve some strapping specimens for the museums back east in order to aid conservation efforts. 

What if the Saysquack ends up being an ancestor of human beings, or an intelligent creature?

Well, I’ll do my best to sort all that out in the field. If the Saysquack can be reasoned with, then I will of course offer it the choice to recognize my authority and come with me willingly. Any Saysquack wishing to improve itself by learning our ways and becoming an American will have my full support, but let me give you my honest opinion: I don’t really think that’s likely or possible.

How did you come to realize that the Saysquack is really out there, is worth your time and energy hunting, and is not just a legend? Do you worry about lending your name and reputation to such a venture?

A prominent anthropologist, Professor Alfred Kroeber, has provided tantalizing evidence of its existence. However, we still need the definitive proof that only specimens and field study can provide. Many prominent members of society are willing to back my expedition, so it is not only my reputation on the line. This reduces the risk of embarrassment for all of us. 

There is believed to be another gentleman—a British doctor—also searching for the Saysquack in the Olympic Peninsula. He is reputed to be trying to find the Saysquack in order to civilize and educate them. What do you think of that?

I’d say that reminds me of people who dress up their dogs and mollycoddle them like children. In other words, it sounds like utter codswallop. Showing kindness is one thing, but you cannot turn one species into another. If this gentleman succeeds at his endeavor, I will gladly eat my hat.

What do you think the future holds for the Saysquack, assuming you find it?

With the help of my friend Gifford Pinchot, we will petition Congress to set aside the Olympic Peninsula to create Theodore Roosevelt—Saysquack National Park as a permanent home for our hirsute, temperate rainforest dwelling friends. There they may be skillfully managed by the Department of the Interior and frolic for many future generations to come. It is my hope that safari trips may be carefully arranged and regulated, so that even after the closing of this last frontier, future Americans may yet be able to obtain a taste of what real wilderness was like in its primordial state.


The year is 1911. The local people know him as Orca, an insatiably hungry monster who needs to kill and eat everything that moves. He is also known by another name: Theodore Roosevelt. He has come to the wild rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula desperately seeking the mythic Saysquack—or “Sasquatch”—so he can be the first to claim the glory of discovering its existence…and its flavor profile. But something stands in the old Bull Moose’s way. A mad utopian British doctor has already arrived a year earlier with plans to find and reform the creature—along with the rest of society—by badgering everyone into singing hymns and learning to ride bicycles. It’s anyone’s guess whose values will come to dominate the cultural landscape in this…squabble of the titans.


Justin Teerlinck pens odd and beguiling books that combine humor, imagination and sometimes strange critters. He has a keen eye for the surreal and magical in ordinary situations. A lifelong anglophile, he loves 19th century Brit lit, doomed polar expeditions, last stands, and incompetence in the face of chaos. If you don’t find him hiking out of the desert after his truck broke down you may find him studying mushrooms in the fern-bedecked wilds of the Pacific Northwest. He is also a mental health occupational therapist who founded therapy departments at two psychiatric hospitals in Washington State. He is currently in private practice.

Author website + blog: https://www.dashfirediaries.net/

Squabble of the Titans: https://www.amazon.com/Squabble-Titans-Recollections-Roosevelt-Rainforest/dp/B097X4R4LN/ref=sr_1_2?crid=29R1LS6XBQTLK&dchild=1&keywords=squabble+of+the+titans

Author Jane Carlile Baker introduces you to Nellie from her book Toughnut Angel

Jane:  What was it like for you, Mum, and Fannie to flee Ireland in a coffin ship bound for Boston in 1850?

Nellie: And our Irish cottage in Midleton was full of love, the land every shade of green, even with the sick potatoes. But my Papa died. The English landlord tore our cottage apart, forced us out into the lane. Made up my mind that day never to owe a rich person, and if I ever got rich, to help others. Mum accepted the landlord’s tickets and we walked the miles to Cobh to sail for America. 

Fleeing people packed the coffin ship, its wood old, its sails dirty, its hold stinking. The English only allowed us to climb out of the hold when we emptied slop buckets, so I volunteered, often, for a breath of fresh air. Even as a small girl, I knew when one-by-one the passengers got sick, that we might not live to see America. But we did, thank the good Lord, we did. Mum, Fannie, and me. 

Jane:  What drew you to mining?

Nellie: A man on my elevator in Boston, did I say I ran an elevator during the Civil War when all the men were gone? And this passenger, who some say looked a lot like General Grant, listened to my dreams and said, “Young lady, you should go west. The land is ripe for settling and you won’t find as many restrictions on your activities, as a woman, there.” So we went, Mum, Fannie and I. 

Making boots in my brother-in-law’s boot factory in San Francisco, I heard a miner from Virginia City, Nevada talking about the wealth they dug out of the ground there. Fannie was married, Mum was living with her and her husband, Thomas Cunningham, so I was free to go. While I worked as a waitress, I learned everything I could about mining in Virginia City. First realized miners were just overgrown boys there, and developed a heart for them. Called them my “boys” for the rest of my life.

Jane: How did you get the title Queen of the Camps?

Nellie: About five hundred of the boys and I mined gold up at Dease Lake, in British Columbia. Ran a little boarding tent where they could get a hot meal. In the fall of 1875, we began to get low on supplies. I headed down to Vancouver Island to resupply us, my plan being to visit the Sisters of St. Ann and return with supplies in the spring. 

In the midst of the worst winter in years, the man who carried the mail for the camps came to tell me the boys at Dease Lake had scurvy. ‘Tis a beast of a disease caused by Vitamin C deficiency that makes gums blister, teeth fall out, and eventually death. That news changed my plan. Hired six men to go with me. We loaded all the lime juice we could haul on six dog sleds and headed for Ft. Wrangell where we would head in from the coast. Commander there told us not to go, but we went. They would have come for us. 

And the dang blizzards never ended. The dogs could not get through the snow, and we necked the sleds. That means we cut leather bands, tied them to the leads on the dog sleds and pulled them ourselves. Took us three months, including digging myself out of a wee avalanche. When we got to the lake, only seventy-five miners still lived. Drained that lime juice into their bleeding mouths and saved every one of them. Do not know that I was ever an angel, but the boys thought so. Had a rough time keeping them seated whenever I entered a mining camp building after that. But made it easy to collect funds to build hospitals and churches. They always opened their pockets to me.

Jane: Tell us about your time in Tombstone, Arizona.

Nellie: Came to Tombstone about the same time Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and their clan showed up. Knew the fellow who got the town named Tombstone, Ed Schieffelin; as well as John Clum, the mayor and publisher of the Tombstone Epitaph. Knew the other element of Tombstone, too. The girls who worked down at the other end of Allen Street and the cowboys donated to building the church and the hospital, same as everyone else. 

Bought several mines and worked them, owned a general store, boarding house and a restaurant. Thomas got consumption and passed while I mined there. Mum stayed in San Francisco, but Fannie and their five children came to Tombstone and helped me run my businesses. Those kids kept us busier than a one-armed miner. We all saw the results of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Then Fannie got the consumption and died. And I raised all her children to become good citizens. Her son, Mike, lived around that area his whole life. Just before the silver played out, I moved on, as was my custom. 

Jane: You mined at Dawson in the Klondike. Can you recreate that experience for us?

Nellie: A lot of ice and snow in the winter and mud the rest of the time. Two-stepped up and down that Golden Staircase cut from the ice on the Chilkoot Pass at fifty-three years old, if I do say so myself. Got a kick out of blarneying the Mounties into letting me come in with half the supplies they required of the boys, since I was half their size. Shot the Whitehorse rapids in a canoe me and a couple of the boys threw together and got to Dawson ahead of quite a few others. Never rode in an airplane, but that was close enough for me.

 Met more mighty fine people in Dawson, Father Judge and Belinda Mulrooney, to name a couple. Lost Mum while the Yukon was froze up, and could not get to San Francisco for her funeral. She made it to a hundred years old, though.

Jane: You finished the last twenty-five years of your life above the Arctic Circle. Tell us about Wiseman, Alaska.

Nellie: Some would call it a desolate land up there. But my Alaska has wild beauty. You just gotta’ know when to look. The thunder of a caribou herd coming up a rise or the Northern Lights dancing in the dark kept me there. The boys and I mined for gold a little different where the ground was frozen most the time. They named me champion female musher of Alaska when I was seventy-seven. Mike and his kids would beg me to come back to Arizona and get warm, but Alaska was my home. Only left when I could not shake a dang cold I caught on a visit to Arizona. Went back to my Sisters of St. Ann in Seattle, to their hospital I helped build. Walked in on my own steam and walked out on Jesus’ arm.


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“The joy of the Lord is my strength”

Introducing Lieutenant William Prescott from Nothing Short of Wondrous by Regina Scott

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today, Lieutenant Prescott. Hm, William Prescott. Wasn’t that the name of a famous Revolutionary War hero?

It was. Though he’s no relation, I was given his name. Growing up near Boston, I knew I was destined to serve in the military, even after my father was killed in the Civil War.

And so you joined the Cavalry. Where have you served? 

The Pend Oreille country, Fort Walla Walla, the Presidio in San Francisco, the Arizona frontier. Oregon.

Is there something special about Oregon that made you hesitate just now?

It’s not something I’m proud of. I’ve done all I can to atone for that time. Right now, I’m serving in Yellowstone, our nation’s first national park. The government called in the Cavalry when civilian superintendents lost control of the area. They say we won’t be here long, but I don’t see how we can leave. There are wildfires raging through parts of the park, vandals harming the natural wonders, and poachers after the game. 

But it’s millions of acres. How can one Cavalry troop cover all that?

It’s not going to be easy, especially since we have been given only one guide. That’s why I made a bargain with Kate Tremaine at the Geyser Gateway Inn. She knows this land better than most. She’s going to help me and my men understand and protect the park. In exchange, I’ll help her with some of the tasks around the hotel. It can’t be easy being a widow with a young son out here.

I imagine not. She must have her hands full running one of the busiest hotels in the park.

You ought to see her. Every inch of that hotel shows the mark of her work. More, she’s warm and welcoming to everyone who stops by, shares everything she knows about this amazing park. Sometimes I wonder whether the government shouldn’t have just put her in charge.

Sounds like you admire Mrs. Tremaine.

More than words can say. 

Interesting. Is the admiration mutual?

How can it be? I’ve no right to expect admiration, not after what I’ve done. But sometimes, when she looks at me, I see something more, something that makes me want to be the kind of man she could admire, the kind of man who could be a good husband and father.

So, what are you going to do?

I wish I knew. I have my hands full with leading my men and trying to find a poacher who’s vowed revenge against us all. But you can learn more about me and Kate Tremaine in Regina Scott’s Nothing Short of Wondrous.

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!


Regina Scott is the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance, including A Distance Too Grand. Her writing has won praise from Booklist and Library Journal, and she was twice awarded the prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research. She and her husband of 30 years live south of Tacoma, Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier.