Prostitution in the Old West

Readers who follow me know I put historical fact in every book I write. Texas Redemption has more history than probably any I think.  From the steamboats that once ran from Jefferson, Texas to New Orleans to the lesser known facts of prostitution.

Laurel James was kidnapped at fifteen and forced to work in a brothel in St. Louis. I did a lot of research about that kind of life. I learned that working girls did in fact carve their real names above the door to remind them of who they once were, just as Laurel observes in young Adeline’s room in the saloon.

I also mention Laurel remembering the pungent smell of sulphuric water that the working girls made their customers bathe in before taking them to their room. That was done to kill any disease or lice the men might carry. Prostitutes adhered to this practice very strenuously because if they got sick, they couldn’t work and they’d be turned out. Most had nowhere else to go.

Almost all working girls had a pet dog or cat. It was a lonely life and they were starved for companionship. Often the pet was the only loyal friend she had.

A lot of women turned to prostitution because of abusive relationships, rape, and because they were uneducated. For some there was no other work for them. Women had few choices when they found themselves alone with no one to turn to. But still there were the few who chose the life, thinking they’d get rich.

Most of them had poor teeth due to lack of toothbrushes or lessons on how to care for their teeth. But face it, the teeth were low on the list of priorities.

Pregnancies were a big problem. Most chose to get the fetus aborted which often led to their death. I mention this in Texas Redemption also. Some of their customers brought rubbers or often the girls insisted their men put them on. But they were stiff and very unlike these of today and men hated using them. Douching was probably the most effective way to avoid pregnancy. The solutions used were bicarbonate of soda, borax, bichloride of mercury, potassium biartate, alum, or vinegar. In the book, I mention herbs the girls were given on a regular basis. The most common was black haw tonic made from cotton root bark, which is what Laurel talks about with Adeline. But there was also plant seeds from Queen Anne’s Lace which also worked.

Depression, drugs, and suicide were rampant among the women. It was a sad, difficult life with no prospect of a future. Most died very young.

I’m so grateful we have access to better medicines and regular doctor care.

Does historical fact in books make the stories come alive or does it hinder and take you out of the story?

 

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This Year’s Line-up

This year has barely begun and I’m racing around like some crazy chicken, flopping its wings. I have four books available for preorder. YIKES! But I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is what I’ve worked so hard for and I’m going to savor every second. They’re all available for PREORDER.

Coming May 2, 2017

THE HEART OF A TEXAS COWBOY – #2 Men of Legend

Three Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.

The MEN of LEGEND

The Cowboy

One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

 

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs to claim.

AMAZON  |  B&N  |

Coming August 1, 2017

KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS — (#1 Texas Heroes series) Reissue of a 2002 book

He’ll do whatever it takes

To keep them safe

Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…

Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…

AMAZON  |  B&N  |

Coming October 3, 2017

CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS – anthology with Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas

Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales of the Wild West! This Western Christmas anthology features bestselling authors including: Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Anna Schmidt, Margaret Brownley, and Amy Sandas. Each story features rugged cowboys, the women who’ve lassoed their hearts…and the Christmas miracles that bring them together.

My story is: The Christmas Stranger

A Sidalee King rescues a drifter from the snow and takes him home. She helps Hank Destry learn the meaning of Christmas and how to open his heart again.

A lonely old woman, Hank’s irrestible dog, and a collection of quirky characters celebrate Christmas with the Legend family on the Lone Star Ranch.

AMAZON  |  B&N  |

Coming November 7, 2017

(Sorry, No Cover Yet)

TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW – #3 Men of Legend

Outlaw Luke Weston is surviving by his wits. On the run with a price on his head for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing Luke needs is more trouble. But when he stumbles upon a young woman who has clearly been kidnapped, he’ll find he’s willing to face any odds if it means keeping the delicate beauty safe.

AMAZON   |   B&N   |

* * * *

As I said, they’re all available for PREORDER and I’ve provided the links. I hope some of these will suit your fancy. If so, which will be your favorite?

 

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Texas Redemption is Here!

My mama always used to say that a watched pot never boils. Lordy, I was sure believing it too. But…Texas Redemption is finally here! Yippee!

As I’ve said before, this a reissue of Redemption that published in 2005. A story of danger, suspense, and a love they can’t have.

Brodie Yates (Shenandoah) is hiding from soldiers who wants him dead. Laurel James hides from desperate men intent on taking her back to the brothel she escaped from. She and Brodie knew each other from the past but never thought to meet again.

* * *

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Desperate to escape her dark past, Laurel James agrees to wed the mayor of a small East Texas town. With him, life will be quiet, respectable. Safe. It should be everything she ever wanted.

And it is. Until Shenandoah rides back into town.

Shenandoah never thought he would find the woman he’s loved and lost…and he certainly never dreamed she’d be pledged to his brother. He knows he should step aside—he has nothing to offer a woman like Laurel James—but the moment their eyes meet, Shenandoah is lost. He can only find peace in her arms…but can redemption be more than a dream for a man who has known nothing but war?

* * * *

I have a Goodreads Giveaway going until Feb. 19th for one of three copies. Click HERE to go over and enter if you haven’t already. You could win your very own copy of Texas Redemption!

* * * *

I also have a Bonanza Giveaway for a copy of TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER plus 50 other western romances. This is huge!

Here’s the link: bit.ly/western-hist-rom

This giveaway only lasts until Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 so enter now!

* * * *

Finally, here are some early reviews of Texas Redemption in case you’d like to see what others are saying:

“The chemistry and attraction between Laurel and Brodie feels authentic, and their love scenes are fun and sensual…Great for fans of history, romance and some good old Texas grit.”  ~~Kirkus Reviews

* * *

“Capturing the struggle to survive some of life’s most difficult challenges is one of Broday’s talents as she pulls fans into the hard-scrabble aftermath of triumph against all odds.”  ~~Romantic Times 4 stars

* * *

 Linda Broday has a talent for creating some very interesting characters and she has scored a hit with TEXAS REDEMPTION.”  ~~ Night Owl Reviews  4 stars

* * *

Announcement: 

Tuesday, I’m going to be a Featured Author on USA TODAY – Happy Ever After. Here’s a link but I’m not sure this will get you there. I hope so. http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/?s=featured+author

Here’s a question: Do reviews play a part with your decision when you’re shopping for books? Let’s talk.

 

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I HAVE A WINNER!

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to comment. Your words mean a lot to me.

Winner of Texas Redemption this week is ……..

KAREN LUNDSTEAD

Congratulations, Karen! I’ll contact you for your information.

 

 

 

 

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How Brodie Yates Was Born

Readers often ask me how characters come to life in my stories. It’s a little hard to explain. For me, it’s like I hear a knock at the door and I open it to find a man or woman standing there with bag and baggage in hand. I always invite them in and tell them to stay as long as they want.

They begin to tell me their story and I listen intently. Their words are only a whisper at first, then louder as they go.

They tell me to write it down and so I begin typing while they talk.

When I first saw Brodie Yates, he was a tiny glimmer in my head. But as he came closer, I could see immense sorrow and loneliness buried deep in the lines of his face. Brodie’s soul was so weary and he longed for home and to see his brother one last time. He knew everything would end for him in Redemption, Texas because he was making a final stand there. The nearby stockade in the Jefferson and the regiments of soldiers made it the most dangerous place on earth, so he knew this would be it for him.

Over time, I saw that he wasn’t nearly ready to give up. He found the woman he loved, Laurel James, also hiding out there. Even though she was engaged to his brother, Laurel gave him reason to hope and to keep fighting to live.

Buried deep down through all the layers, I saw the love he had for his brother, his honor, and his deep sense of justice. But most of all, he opened his heart again to the love of his life—Laurel James. He took one more chance on love, praying she wouldn’t spurn him.

Here’s an excerpt of their first conversation. He was so wounded that she pretended not to know him. But he wasn’t angry. Just hurt. And Laurel was scared to death that he’d ruin the new life she’d tried to build. Secrets have power and hers was the biggest. This is in her point of view.

EXCERPT

Perhaps Shenandoah truly hadn’t recognized her. She’d worn her hair loose and flowing in those days, not pulled back in a severe knot on the back of her neck as she did now. Laurel straightened her shoulders and strode into the dining room.

Walk briskly. Feel nothing.

Shenandoah’s intense gaze burned, luring her concentration from the brisk, firm walk she’d planned. The faint smell of leather, bay rum, and cheroots jogged her senses.

Nights when her world seemed less hopeless.

Nights when she first dared thoughts of a new life.

Nights of passion. Her steps lagged.

The crooked half smile disturbed far more than the shock of hair that dangled rakishly across his forehead. Rivulets of sweat trickled down her back. That devilish grin touched a longing deep in the locked chamber of her heart where she could lie to herself and pretend she was worth saving. 

Laurel willed herself forward, a desperate prayer sticking in her throat. She plunked his meal onto the table and turned on her heel.

Not quick enough.

He captured her hand. “Much obliged.  Sit with me a spell, Lil.”

Cold fingers of doom clawed their way inside, wrapping around what remained of her soul.

Lavender Lil. No one had called her that since…. She gave the other two patrons a skittish glance. Their forks never slowed from the plate to their mouth, indicating they’d not heard.

“Sorry, cowboy.” She meant to add the layer of flint. The bitterness surprised her though. “You’ve got the wrong person.”

Shenandoah pulled her into the chair beside him. Not a forceful tug, but one that offered no escape. The gentle touch spoke of remembrance and insatiable desire.

A crack in the floor came under her intense scrutiny.

How could so much dirt get into such tiny places? It would take a good scrubbing to get it clean.

“Nice try. I’d recognize that silky black hair, those violet eyes in the midst of a horde of saints at a church social, the last place I’d expect to find you…even if I wore a blindfold.”

His husky drawl lodged somewhere in the vicinity of her fickle heart. Dear God, for another lifetime, another chance. “You’re mistaken.”

“And certainly if you spoke.” He brushed aside her denial. “I’ve never heard another with your throaty voice.”

She swallowed the lump. “My name is Laurel James.”

Release of his hold gave false hope, for he merely changed locations. She flinched when he cupped her jaw. Damning the touch that bound without rope or chains, she had no choice but follow where he led. His rebel gaze reflected the futility of her lies. Her stomach knotted.

“Surprised to find you here. A bit far from St. Louis, aren’t you, darlin’?”

“Please…don’t—”

A loud yell from outside interrupted her desperate plea.

“Hey, you in there! I’m calling you out.”

Jeb Prater. Shenandoah shifted in his seat. A glimmer of disquiet crossed his features before it vanished, replaced by the cold, hard mask of a seasoned warrior.

* * *

This book releases on February 7, 2017. You can order it from any online site that sells books.

I have a GOODREADS giveaway going for one of three copies. Enter the drawing HERE.

If you could be a fictional character from any book, who would you be?

 

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I Have Winners!

Oh my goodness! I was overjoyed to see so many comments. Thank you all for coming!

Here are the winners……………….

Cheryl Lucas

Christi Ogle

Tonya Cherry

Shaun Brinkhurst

Lori Hauser

Debra Lucas

Evelyn Messer

Quilt Lady

Elaine

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll contact you for your information so be watching.

 

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TEXAS REDEMPTION and Giveaway!

From a mysterious town hidden on the banks of Big Cypress Bayou in the swamps of East Texas comes TEXAS REDEMPTION. This story is a reissue of Redemption that came out in 2005 and I’m so excited to have it back into readers’ hands on February 7th.

Two brothers…one woman…and a final chance for Redemption.

Brodie Yates, known as legendary spy Shenandoah during the Civil War, has been hunted for four long years by the U.S. army.  The army doesn’t appear to know the war ended and is anxious to make him pay for his crimes. But Brodie is weary of it all and decides to go home to see this brother one last time. Redemption is a good place to make a final stand.

Laurel James lost her heart years ago to Shenandoah so her engagement to Redemption’s town mayor and banker is merely a business proposition. It’s a chance to redeem her soul and cleanse it of her sordid past. She can gain respectability and be able to look at herself in mirror again. Everything’s perfect…until Shenandoah rides into town and strides into the small café that Laurel co-owns.

One glance tells her that she’s still in love with him. There’s no denying it.

Then she’s shocked to discover that he’s the mayor’s brother—Brodie. He seems determined to wreck her safe life, threatening to tell his brother that she worked in a brothel during the war. He gives her three days to break off the engagement.

Only outlaws ride in and hold up the bank, shooting her fiancé. From there, the twists and turns take you on an exciting ride and it’s anyone guess who’ll come out on top.

One brother offers respect and redemption. The other his heart. Which will she choose?

For an excerpt on this site, click HERE.

I think the setting definitely enhances this story. It’s sultry, dark, and mysterious—brooding even. Does the setting make any difference to you in a book?

I’m giving away (3) copies, print or e-book, so leave a comment.

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Jan Sikes: DISCOVERY

Have you ever wondered what men in prison think about? Their monotonous days are long and empty. Their lives seem hopeless and void of meaning. And sometimes they start to question their own sanity.

DISCOVERY by Rick and Jan Sikes is full of poetry, musings, and drawings completed while inside the walls of Leavenworth Prison as Rick served a sentence for bank robbery. But, not all are his. Jan included the ones she wrote over the years while she waited, always hopeful that one day they’d release the man she loved.

It’s very difficult to stay positive in such a depressing environment. Some don’t even bother to look for a bright side that doesn’t appear to exist.

After a time of anger and frustration, Rick realized that he couldn’t change prison and it couldn’t change him. He began to examine himself and find the man he really was buried deep inside. As a popular Texas musician and performing night after night, week after week, he’d lost the person he was. Being locked away forced Rick to face himself and see where he needed lots of work.

There’s despair in these pages, but there’s also a lot of humor and positive reinforcement.

One poem that is really profound to me is Discovery which became the title of the book. The incident that sparked the writing of this poem was the turning point for Rick. Anger burned inside, eating him alive. He was like a lit fuse and one day finally exploded. The guards threw him in the hole (solitary confinement.) He lay on the floor, weeping, and finally went to sleep. A beautiful angel appeared in a dream, telling him that he was not alone and that she would help him get through this horrible time. But he had to try.

From then on, Rick became a changed man. He looked for the positives and turned to bettering himself, doing something constructive instead of destructive. He found he was very creative with his hands and designed pottery, painted, did beautiful bead work, and played his music again.

Rick had some pretty vivid dreams that he wrote poems about in this book. Dreams offered escape from the horror and loneliness. He could fly through the iron bars and over the high walls to freedom if only for a little while.

Willie Nelson’s ex-wife, Connie Nelson, wrote the beautiful forward and says what this poetry book means to her.

 

 

Here’s a snippet from the poem Discovery:

 

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ’til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same.”

* * *

Click HERE to purchase the book!

Jan would like to hear from you – http://www.jansikes.com/

* * *

So take a journey through a convict’s mind and listen to the Breathings Of His Heart. You might be surprised to find yourself in that cell with him.

Have you ever reached a time in your life when you needed something to get you through? I’m giving away one hardback copy so leave a comment.

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An Extraordinary Woman: Jessie Daniel Ames

Jessie Daniel Ames

Women have long had a profound effect on the world and politics. The history in this post comes quite a big later than my usual research. But the effect spread all across this nation and especially the south.

Jessie Daniel was born and grew up in rural East Texas in the town of Overton in 1883. When she was young then as she moved into her teen years, black men accused of crimes were executed by local mobs before they ever reached a trial. She heard cases of other atrocities including where a victim lost his sight by a red-hot iron. She was horrified and these incidents fueled a desire to end this hatred.

Her parents came to Texas with basically the clothes on their backs. Her father worked for the railroad and her mother was a nurse for a local doctor. Jessie’s home life was volatile with frequent arguments. Her father proclaimed that he was an atheist. Jessie was the third of four children and her domineering father didn’t show her much love.

In 1905, after graduating from Southwestern College, she married Roger Ames. Instead of making life easier for her, he made it more difficult. His family rejected her and he did little to change their minds. Roger was an army surgeon and spent much of his time abroad. However, he and Jessie had three children.

Roger died in 1914 and she moved in with her mother who was also a widow. They managed a telephone business of her father’s and Jessie found her backbone.

One day, an irate male customer came in. He said, “If you were a man, I’d cuss you out.” Jessie basically told him not to let that stop him and went to toe to toe with him.

Her interest in women’s rights bloomed the first year of her marriage when she could not open a bank account without her husband’s permission. Neither could they buy or sell property. It angered her that women had no voice. The ones with husbands were controlled by them and the ones without were controlled by their bosses or public opinion. Women were expected to be as docile sheep.

So widowed and running her own business, she was in a unique position and she grabbed it. She hosted the first Georgetown suffrage meeting in her home and was immediately elected president of the local organization. She lobbied for women’s rights and helped get into law the right to vote. But it only pertained to white women. Black women still weren’t allowed. Racism angered her and the fact that lynchings were commonplace.

In 1922, she became the chair for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, an organization to bring blacks and whites together to discuss the particular problem of the South. She traveled all over, giving speeches and galvanizing people. She formed the Association of Southern Women to Prevent Lynching.

She reached out to the women and worked with local sheriffs, telling them to do their jobs. She spoke out for law and order and that everyone deserved a trial before being executed. She asked women to use their pens against lynching. And she empowered them. In 1938 a bill came before Congress making lynching illegal. It was shot down. Shocking to this day, there still is not a specific law against it.

However, due to enactment of civil rights laws in the 1960s and changes in public attitude, the practice that was so commonplace died away.

Still, Jessie Daniel Ames was instrumental in leading women. She urged them to “reject the crown of chivalry that has pressed upon us like a crown of thorns” and they did. She taught them to look beyond their self-interest and to make men not view them as a threat but as an equal.

She died in Austin, Texas in 1972.

It’s horrible to think that women had to wait so long for equal rights. I can’t image being unable to open a bank account or buy or sell property without a man saying it was okay.

My mother saw the right to vote passed and I think that’s why she took her voting responsibility so seriously. From when she registered to the day she died, she never missed but one election. She was in the hospital that November and died two weeks later.

What do women’s rights mean to you?  

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