Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to Pants a Hero by Paty Jager #historical #western

While working on the Work In Progress(WIP) the other day, I had a scene where the heroine needed to take the pants off the injured and unconscious hero. This is when they first meet. My fingers stalled. How were men's pants fastened in 1900? Were they the same as the early books I'd written?

I went to my research books and pulled out an 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue which is a replica, and The Writers Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West by Candy Moulton.

Thumbing through the Sears pages I made a decision of the type of pants my hero would wear. There were several choices from the tailor made pants for $.75 made of wool and cotton blend to the $5 pair of pants made of imported French and German worsted in a variety of striped patterns. There were also overalls (jeans) made from different weights of blue denim. These were anywhere from  $.38 to $2.38 for a pair of white painters' overall.

vintage pants on Ebay
My hero isn't a cowboy or a person who rode horses a lot. He works with his hands making writing tablets for the blind out of wood. And he himself is blind. So I determined he would wear an average price-range, wool trouser with flannel drawers underneath.

But I still didn't know how the pants were fastened. I learned from The Writers Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West that men rarely wore a belt. The pants were so high waisted the top button was above the hips. Once it was buttoned, the pants didn't fall off. If a man didn't have a waist thinner than his hips, he could use suspenders to keep his pants up. Men's pants had a fly front just as today, only there were buttons instead of a zipper. The buttons were hid under the fly.

And so my heroine has to remove the unconscious hero's trousers so the doctor can inspect him for injuries.
Here is an unedited excerpt on the de-pantsing of the hero by the heroine from Claiming a Heart the third book in the Halsey Homecoming trilogy.

She stood by the cot staring at the last piece of clothing she had to remove. Wool trousers. Drawing in a deep breath, she steeled herself for the task. The red flannels he wore would cover his lower body, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to touch him so intimately. After all, she’d have to slide the britches over his hips and down.
“Lookin’ at him ain’t gettin’ the job done.” She leaned down and unbuttoned the waist button. Working the other buttons under the flap loose required her fingers to touch a part of a man’s body she shouldn’t be touching.
She held her breath and worked the buttons loose as quickly as her stiff fingers would go. A whoosh of air relaxed her lungs when the buttons were all free of the holes. Sliding her hands inside the pants and down his hips, she worked the garment down and eventually off his legs.

Sweat beaded her brow when she stood at the end of the cot holding his trousers. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chinese in American History

The third book in the Halsey Homecoming trilogy is coming along nicely. The story is working out much as I'd anticipated thinking about the plot the last couple of months before actually writing it.

The best part about any book for me is the research on the history of an area and, at times, people.  This books is set in the underground tunnels of Pendleton, Oregon in 1900. The research I've done on the Chinese at that time in Pendleton gives a different number of how may Chinese were actually living there. Some say around 100 others say more. In my book, I don't give any numbers, I'm mostly showing how they were treated, how they survived, and how they were resilient.
From Wikipedia

Most of the Chinese who came to the U.S. in the 1800's came to find a better life for their families or to make money to send back home to the families they left behind. They were hard workers and yet were paid less than the white workers. But they didn't complain. They were frugal, lived communally, and sent most of the money back to their families so they could live a good life.

Few women came from China. Fro the most part Chinese merchants brought their wives and families. The other men who came over left their wives behind to take care of the children and in-laws with the money the husband sent home. The men who came to the U.S. to find gold and work on the transcontinental railroad were not allowed to marry white European partners and could not become U.S. citizens.

From Wikipedia
They were treated far worse than any other ethnic group in the U.S. They were mostly from rural areas of China. They didn't speak the language and didn't understand the western customs.

The Exclusion Act of 1882 signed by President Chester A. Author prohibited any Chinese laborer from entering the U.S. Only a person who wasn't a laborer could enter the country and then they were scrutinized before being allowed in.

Because the government had feared them taking over jobs and the western people didn't understand their culture, the Chinese took to moving about cities in underground tunnels and sleeping in dorms under the Josh Houses in the towns. They feared for their lives to be seen on streets in the daylight. But people were still willing to have them do the menial tasks of cooking, laundry, and running bath houses.

More on how they lived in the tunnels along with the Josh houses and opium dens to come in later posts.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Research is Fun! #writinglife #research

Train depot at Umatilla Historical Museum
I spent the first of the week researching for the current work in progress, the third book of the Halsey Homecoming series. The plan was to re-visit the underground tunnels in Pendleton, Oregon. The tours were closed on Tuesday, the day I was in town.

That didn't bother me too much. I had been on the tour before. But I still had questions that needed answered about the town in 1900.  I went to the Umatilla Historical Museum which was open and found out a bit more about the town and picked up a book on Pendleton.

Cabin at Umatilla Historical Museum
I also visited the local book store looking for research material and just happened to stumble into a store that had old-fashioned candy, antiques, and books. Walking in the gentleman clerk was talking with a customer. They were talking history of the town and the man said he knew so much because his grandmothers always talked about the history and dragged him to see this and that. The customer left and he asked if he could help me with anything.

Part of the Tour.
 This was my opening. "Yes, I heard you know the history around here." He pointed to the book in my hand that I'd purchased at the museum. "I wrote that book," he said.

I started asking my questions. He answered and showed me maps in the book and described some great scenarios that while they happened a few years before my story, I'm going to take creative license and use them in my story.  He answered most of my questions and helped me get a better feel for the time period and the actions and reactions of the people in 1900 in Pendleton.

This is what I always love when doing research. Books are good, museums are good, but when you can get a person who knows the history of an area to visit with you, they always have some little tidbit that makes a light bulb go off in my head and inspires great scenes.

Monday, April 06, 2015

JoAnne Myers, Writing Paranormal, and Wicked Intentions

                                    WRITING PARANORMAL-by JoAnne Myers

When it comes to fiction writing, almost anything goes. That is why I love writing paranormal and fantasy stories. The author can go completely over the edge and make something unbelievable seem believable. When it comes to ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own either. I watch television programs that partake of the supernatural and paranormal flare. Programs from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.

For my ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own, either. I watch television programs with the supernatural and paranormal flare; documentaries from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.

Some of the stories from my anthology, Wicked Intentions, are based on actual hauntings. In The Legend of Lake Manor, I placed my young psychic, Cassandra Lopez, in a haunted mansion I fashioned on my knowledge of a three-story mansion in my hometown and information from television about a restaurant/bar in Ohio, supposedly ruled by demons so violent that the local police are constantly closing it down.

A television documentary about a young mother plagued by ghost sightings since childhood, inspired The Haunting of Barb Marie and her gift/curse.

And The Apartment, in which my newlyweds, Bill and Gayle, are plagued by sightings of evil ghosts that threaten their marriage and theirs lives, originated from a real apartment haunted by the ghosts of two homosexual lovers who died violently. The legend says no tenant is able to stay there until the spirits are chased off by a paranormal investigation team.

On the Discovery Channel, is where I got the idea for Summer Wind. I learned of the colonial explorer Jonathon Carver who lived during the 1700s and whose ghost is believed to be haunting the Summerwind estate, built in the early 20th century. Carver’s ghost is, supposedly, searching the house’s foundations for deeds to a vast tract of land (10,000 square miles) given to him by Sioux Indian chiefs as a reward for the peace treaty he created between two warring tribes. In my Summer Wind, 29 year-old Ginger is mysteriously drawn to the old mansion, and like the many owners of the real mansion, the haunting had a negative and profound effect on Ginger and her family.

Another investigative program concerned one sister’s psychic premonitions about her twin’s murder. This led to my story, Blood Ties, and my heroine, Audra Roper’s dark, disturbing visions of her sister’s disappearance and the roller coaster of risks, heartbreak, and intrigue that followed.

Dark Visions came from reading a newspaper story while sitting in a diner. A young woman began having visions of her father's disappearance that was actually his murder from years earlier. So, my Carrie Reynolds starts having nightmares on her twenty-sixth birthday and believes these ‘dark visions’ can solve the twenty year disappearance of her father.

I set my murder mystery, The Truth Behind the Lies, on Norfolk Island after following a three year long murder investigation on that island from 2003. In my story, Federal Police Inspector Ian Christian faces attacks, more murders and ghostly occurrences, and the killer is closer than anyone realizes.

So, the next time you get Writer’s Block, or need a new idea, try switching on the television, open a newspaper, delve into history or simply look and listen. You will find something to stimulate your muse.

Blurbs for “Wicked Intentions” 7 bone chilling paranormal tales


          After the mysterious disappearance of twenty-six year old wife and mother Lisa Smalley, her twin,  Audra Roper, begins having dark and disturbing visions of Lisa’s disappearance.  Trying to survive while looking for Lisa, Audra’s life becomes a roller coaster of risks, heartbreak, and intrigue.


          Even as a child, Barb Marie saw dead people. This took an unhealthy toil on her throughout her childhood and young adulthood.


          When twenty-nine year old Ginger discovers the old mansion Summer Wind, she is mysteriously drawn to it. . Immediately, the haunting’s have a negative and profound effect on the family. 

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES-laying the Norfolk ghost to rest

          Solving the brutal murder of American born Ruthie Geil becomes a gauntlet of attacks and more murders for Federal Police Inspector Ian Christian. Between the victims family, ex-lovers, and ghostly occurrences on Norfolk Island, the killer is closer than anyone realizes.


          For the young psychic Cassandra Lopez, coming to the infamous and haunted mansion Lake Manor, was more like a mission. 


          When young newlyweds Bill and Gayle move into their new apartment, their lives are plagued with sightings of evil ghosts that threaten their marriage and lives. 


          When Carrie Reynold’s starts having nightmares on her twenty-sixth birthday, she believes her “dark visions” can solve the twenty year disappearance of her father.

Excerpt from “Dark Visions”

Mark was gone from Carrie’s bed when she awoke. In his place lay a
hand-written love note decorated with flowers and hearts. “Mark, you’re quite the artist,” she said to the note with a deep satisfied smile. Checking the clock she found she had less than thirty minutes to shower, dress and get to
church…and be there on time. Anyone arriving late had to sit in back of the
church, and Carrie was expected to sit with her mother.

She made it to the church with one minute to spare and dutifully kissing
her mother’s cheek, sat with her in the fourth row. “I didn’t think you’d make
it,” whispered Myra, noticing her daughter’s glowing appearance as did others, as evidenced by smiles and wiggling eyebrows. “So, when’s the wedding?”

Carrie stopped her last minute primping and whispered. “Does it show?”

“You got ‘I had sex last night’ written all over your pretty face.”

“He’s the one, Mother. I know it.”

“That’s what I said when I met your daddy…and we know how that

“Father was morally and emotionally weak. Mark is not.”

“I may not know everything about men, but one thing I do know is this, ‘If
a man can get the milk for free, why buy the cow?’”

“That’s a horrible presumption to make about Mark.”

“So…when’s the wedding?”

Carrie started to answer, but the organist’s Prelude interrupted. Angry with
her mom and her attitude toward men in general and Mark in particular, she
made a quick exit. Once outside the church, she raced sobbing to her car and
peeled out of the parking lot. She immediately called Mark.

Reviews for Wicked Intentions

1st Review

5***** on May 2014 by Linda Tonis Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Review:  “This was a very interesting collection of short stories and all had a touch of the paranormal. Overall, this is a book well worth reading.”

2nd Review

4**** by Tenaya Jacob 2015

Review: “Good ghoulish bedtime stories. Wicked Intentions is a collection of short mysterious tales about love gone wrong and restless souls of the spirit world trespassing in the land of the living. Interesting stories to keep you up at night reading.”

Author Bio:
JoAnne has been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of her life. Besides having several novels under her belt, JoAnne canvas paints. When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, JoAnne spends time with relatives, and volunteers her time within the community. JoAnne is a member of several writing clubs. JoAnne believes in family values and following your dreams. JoAnne’s original canvas paintings, can be found at:

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Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne

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