Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Gee" and "Haw"—Commands for Animals

For several of my books, I've needed the commands used for draft animals—mules. The terminology used is not something I remember, so decided to post them on my blog. Here I can easily find them when needed. I want to get the commands correct, or my book will draw criticism from someone who knows the correct terminology.

Isn't this fella cute? Love the ears.

The commands I'm listing were taken from My Horse Forum and posted my senior member harli36.

Walk—to go from halt to walk
Walk—to slow down from trot to walk
Trot on—to go from halt or walk to trot
Slooooowww—(well this one is obvious)
Gee—to turn right, most commonly used in tight turns where no forward movement is used.
Haw—same as above only for left hand turns.

I've used these commands in my novella, A Love of His Own, a western time travel, and in my work-in-progress, A Touch of Irish, a historical western that begins in Ireland.

I couldn't resist this picture of a carriage mule at Jackson Square in New Orleans. She doesn't appear too happy about this costume.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading and Writing!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Welcome Zina Abbott—Her Independent Spirit

Today Zina Abbott will share with you excerpt #3 and
A chance to win a copy of Her Independent Spirit by playing the Amazon Giveaway sweepstakes.

Catch all seven excerpts on participating blogs on Zina Abbott's website by CLICKING HERE.

Please join Zina Abbott on the Sweet/Clean Romance Facebook event
Monday, April 11th at noon/1:00/2:00/3:00p.m. or
Wednesday, April 13th at 3:00/4:00/5:00/6:00p.m.

About the Book:

Beth Dodd has made a promise to help “Lulu”, a young prostitute at the Blue Feather, keep her baby if she decides to leave the whorehouse and become a respectable woman. But Beth hadn’t counted on the obstacles she and the new mother will face from society in the mining town of Lundy. From the obstinate landlady, Mrs. Ford, to her intractable German boss, Gus Herschel, Beth must fight for the woman she’s promised to help. But Beth Dodd never gives in, and she keeps her word with a stubbornness that Lundy folks are not accustomed to seeing from a woman.

Once Lulu, now known as the more respectable Louisa Parmley, starts working for Gus in his kitchen, she proves that Beth was right to take a chance on her. She has every intention of making a good life for her new daughter. But can she also hope to find happiness with Gus? And will Gus be able to accept her and baby Sophie Ann as his? Love was never in the cards for Gus, but Louisa dreams of happiness with the stoic man, and Beth is determined to bring them together through HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT.

Excerpt #3:

Nein! Ich nicht condemn!” No! I don’t condemn! “Vork, herrisch Witwe!” Bossy widow. “No more stories. Make biscuits!”
Beth motioned Gus aside so she could slide a sheet of biscuits into the oven.
“That’s mighty fine, Gus, ‘cause I done found us another cook. What with all these here miners comin’ into Lundy, we’re slap-full busy. Friday I’ll start her learnin’ how things is done. She’ll be right smart help in the kitchen.”
Gus, his stubborn jaw jutting out, squinted his eyes with suspicion.
“Who? Vat voman?”
 Photo: 1900’s pioneer kitchen from the Prescott, AZ museum
Zina Abbott is offering a copy of the book through Amazon Giveaway sweepstakes with a  one in fifty chance of winning. You may access Amazon Giveaway by CLICKING HERE and following the instructions.

About the Author:
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. You may find the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, by clicking on the hyperlinks for the novel titles or by going to Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

To learn about new releases and special offers, Zina Abbott invites you to sign up to receive her monthly NEWSLETTER. You may sign up by CLICKING HERE.

Zina Abbott Author Links:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads  |  Google+  |  Twitter 

Purchase links for Her Independent Heart:

Amazon  |   Smashwords  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

Please tweet this blog post:
Excerpt 3 & #AmazonGiveaway on Blog Blitz:

 Thank you readers for stopping by today. I hope you'll leave Zina a comment or question and check out her website and contests. 

I enjoyed your excerpt, Zina. Her Independent Spirit sounds like a fun read.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stagecoach Stations in the West

I'd hoped to have the book on Stagecoach Inns long before now, but, alas, my book is not here. The seller fears it may have been lost in the mail. So, I'm going to do my best to tell the story with the information I have garnered from the web and Pecos County History.

In the East, stagecoach inns were much like large residences and hotels. The home to the left, the Harry Kennedy House in Centerville, Alabama, was built in 1837 as a stagecoach stop and hotel. Below is a picture of the Glover Tavern, a stagecoach stop in Forkland, AL. To the right is the tavern now.  It has been restored and is now a family residence.    

Many offered overnight boarding and delicious meals. With others, the accommodations and food were not ideal, but to a tired traveler they were, in most cases, acceptable.

The picture to the above right is of the Anderson Stage Stop in Monroe County. Note the dog trot style cabin. The open space provided a nice breeze which helped to cool the house. This stop is the only one remaining on the Old Federal Road. The picture to the left is of a livery stable. I'm not positive of it's location, but it is Alabama.

References for above data and photos :

In San Antonio, the stage often stopped at the Menger Hotel, and in Fredericksburg, at the Nimitz Hotel.

The Menger Hotel is still open to guests and individuals have been known to claim they've seen or heard ghosts. Teddy Roosevelt often frequented the Menger and it's saloon. A wall in the hallway is dedicated to Teddy and The Rough Riders.

The Nimitz Hotel is now the General Nimitz Museum, a fascinating place to visit and explore artifacts from World War II.

Reference:  San Antonio Transportation History Ox, Mule, and Horse Drawn Era 1845 - 1910

As stagecoach routes opened up farther west, accommodations provided were to meet basic needs and not necessarily to provide comfort.

It's important to mention, that in the West horses were rarely used to lead coaches. The best animal to use was the mule. Also, in areas where the roads were particularly rough or mountainous, or for short hauls, Celebrity wagons, also called mud wagons and mail wagons, were used. They were lighter weight than the Concord and cost about 1/2 as much to build. They carried from four to twelve passengers depending on how they were made, and had open sides. Leather or cloth flaps could be rolled down to offer some protection from the elements.

A mule occurs when a female horse is bred with a donkey. The result was an animal that is "strong and sure footed. They lacked the free spirit nature of horses and were, indeed, creatures of habit. A good caporal, the name given to the person in any wagon train in charge of the animals, had only to crack his whip in the morning for the mules to line up not only in front of its assigned wagon but even its assigned place within the team, which could consist of between six and eight animals."

Reference:  San Antonio Transportation History Ox, Mule, and Horse Drawn Era 1845 - 1910

The story I'm writing takes place in Fort Stockton, far West Texas. Stage stops might be from 30-50 miles apart, and schedules had to be kept. So, a break might last 10-15 minutes, just enough time to hitch fresh mules. The stage stands were completed by 1850 as way stations along mail routes. They were all similar, built on the same plan, made of adobe and usually stood on a rise or broad sweep of ground without much foliage. This allowed the stage tender to be able to see for miles around in every direction.

Made of adobe, they had a broad entrance with a gate and a roof overhead. It appeared much like the dog trot on log homes though the opening was wider and the roof was pitched, not flat. A room was located on each side of the entrance—one for cooking and and eating, and the other was used for sleeping and served as a storeroom. The stage company supplied the supplies and any money made off meals and supplies sold were kept by the stage tender. To the rear of these rooms, was a corral or patio where the mules were kept. The walls of the corral, made of adobe brick, were 12 to 15 feet high and two or three feet thick. When a stage entered, the mules were quickly unhitched and the stage was turned around, by hand, and pointed toward the entrance before the fresh team was hitched.

"When the fresh mules were hitched to the stagecoach and the gates again opened, with a yell from the driver, and a crack from his whip, the mules would dash out of the enclosure on a wild run, which did not slacken until the next stage stand was reached."
Stagecoaches traveling through Pecos County, stopped at places where water was available. One of those places was Escondido (Tunas Springs), 20 miles east of  Comanche Springs where Fort Stockton is located today. A replica of the stage stand is on Highway 290, east of Fort Stockton near Escondido. 

Credit for these photos goes to LenRoy Graham.

Reference:  History of Pecos County, Vol. I

Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Reading and Writing!

Linda LaRoque

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Love To...

Browse country catalogues such as The Vermont Country Store? I enjoying viewing popular items from my teen years and items that my mother used—especially cosmetics.

They have English Leather, my husbands signature aftershave when we married. While he was in Vietnam, I sprinkled samplings on one of his tee shirts and tucked it under my pillow at night.

My mother liked to purchase White Shoulders for me, but when I got in high school, I opted for Chanel No. 5. My mother was a big joker. She used to call Tabu fragrance, meet me under the bridge at midnight. It was a strong aroma.

Others I remember seeing and some times wishing for are—Evening In Paris, Joy, and Arpege.

Oh, but the makeup, what fun it was to go to Woolworth's and browse. Tangee and Coty lipsticks and blush (we called it rouge back then), MaxFactor Pancake Makeup, and Coty Air-Spun face powder. The only mascara was Maybeline's in the little compact that you had to dampen before applying to the brush.

The photo at the bottom is Madeline mascara in a box. The date says 1977, but I don't remember one like this. I believe it's from an earlier time period. The one to the left is the one I used in the late 50s and 60s until liquid mascara came in to being.

Let's not forget about Avon. They've been around a long  time and had everything. I do love the sample lipsticks they had. 

As a young adult in college, I was sold on Bonnie Bell products and used their cleaning as well as their cosmetics.

Thank you for stopping by. Don't forget to leave a comment about your young beauty years.

Many thanks,


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Stagecoach Travel—Research for my current WIP

It's exciting to learn something new. In the last couple of weeks, I've spent a lot of time researching details on train and stagecoach travel in the 1890s. And about Pecos County in west Texas. Part of my story is set in Fort Stockton, and though I lived there for four years, I know very little about it's early history. Our public library has a set of the Pecos County History books so I spent a good deal of time reading through the first volume.

Here I am riding shotgun. (Picture at the top left)

Since my hero and heroine are traveling via stagecoach from Monahans to Fort Stockton, I'd like to share what their mode of transportation looked like inside. I had to search a long time to find a photo of the center seat. (See below) Imagine sitting there for 8-12 hours while traveling over rough terrain.

Prior to the teacup shaped Concord, coaches were boxy and had no leather braces. A long ride in one would be grueling, but I guess folks were tougher in those days. When vacationing in Colorado, my husband and I rode in a stagecoach for several miles. At first I sat inside the coach, but later joined the men on the top, the most comfortable seats on the coach, and it was nice. I could have traveled a long way from that seat.

The Concord coach, developed in 1827 by J. Stephen Abbot, had leather straps called thorough braces, which served as shock absorbers and allowed for a smoother ride. They were designed to hold, six, nine, or twelve passengers. Up to six people, including the driver, could sit on the top, if luggage didn't require all the space. Often mail was stored under passenger's feet if room elsewhere wasn't available.

Many, but not all coaches had the extra seat for two behind the driver, often used for guards, especially if they carried gold or mail. Some models had one at the back also. Coaches were 8 1/2 feet tall and weighed 1 1/4 tons. Imagine how heavy it would be loaded with passengers, luggage, and mail.

Passengers sitting on the center seat faced the front of the coach so six passengers were sharing leg room and their knees often overlapped. The only thing they had to help them stay balanced was a wide piece of leather stretched from one side one side of the coach to the other. Though the passengers which faced the rear of the coach received less dirt from the windows, the forward facing seat had more leg room and offered a better view.
This photo of Wells Fargo History Museum is
courtesy of TripAdvisor

    photo courtesy of                      

The number of miles a stage could travel in one day varied and was determined by terrain, availability of water, conditions of the road, and weather. If the coach became bogged down in mud, passengers unloaded to help push. Stops were between 15 to 30 miles apart, depending on the terrain and availability of water.

'"From Austin to the Alamo City, one old-timer later recalled, 'the trip was made in 18 hours with breakfast at the Blanco Creek, supper in New Braunfels and arrival at San Antonio sometime during the night, weather and floods permitting.' In wet weather, the 75-mile trip took the worst part of a week."

Long-haul stages usually ran overnight, while other routes had overnight accommodations. Stops were usually ten minutes to take on fresh mules and take care of personal matters. Often, a new driver boarded.

Sources for this post came from Texas Almanac -The Source For All Things Texan Since 1887: Stagecoaching in Texas.

My next post will be on stagecoach stands. Stands in a term I not heard used before so was excited to learn all about them. Hope to see you then!

Happy Reading and Writing!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Boxed Set: Love, Come to Me for $.99 and a recipe —Pineapple Chess Pie

Shattered Vows is included in this boxed set of stories. Five great stories for $.99.

LOVE, COME TO ME is a wonderful collection of love stories from different time periods that is sure to make you long to read each one to the very end without interruption. Each story is heart wrenching in its own way, guaranteed to have you falling in love with the characters and the stories of their lives. Take a look! 

Read more about this set and get your copy at

Like chess pie? Lemon chess is my favorite but this is good also.

Pineapple Chess Pie

3 eggs, separated and beaten
1 scant but of sugar
1/3 C. butter
1 C. crushed pineapple drained slightly
dash of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add three beaten yolks and beat again. Add pineapple and salt. Beat egg white into stiff peaks and fold into pineapple mixture.

Pour into 9 inch unbaked pie shell

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and sightly browned.

If you try the recipe, let me know how you like the pie.

Don't forget to enter the Goodreads contest for Shattered Vows. I'm giving away 5 paperback copies. Click on the link in the right hand column.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Contest on Goodreads—5 copies of Shattered Vows

I'm giving away 5 paperback copies of Shattered Vows, my inspirational women's fiction, on Goodreads. The contest begins tonight, Jan. 9th at midnight and ends Feb. 13th. It is open to readers in the US, Canada, and UK.

Follow the link to the right.

I hope you'll enter.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading and Writing!