Thursday, October 11, 2018

Women Actually Hiked the Chilkoot Trail to the Klondike by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey


I had been to the Yukon twice and hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 1997, the hundredth anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, so I knew some history of the area before I started my research for my novel Romancing the Klondike. But I didn’t know anything about the north prior to gold being discovered on Rabbit Creek. When I began my reading I learned that there were good sized towns such as Circle City in Alaska and Fortymile in the Northwest Territories (the Yukon Territory was not formed until 1898) with theatres, libraries, schools, stores, and medical doctors. One little known fact, though, was that while most of the residents in the north before the gold rush era were men, there were also many women who lived there with their prospector husbands or who came as nurses, teachers, cooks, dance hall girls, and ladies of the evening.

       One such woman was Ethel Berry who made the trek from California as a newlywed with her husband, Clarence, in 1896. When they heard about gold being found on Rabbit Creek (later named Bonanza Creek) Clarence staked a claim on Eldorado Creek, a tributary, and the couple set up camp in a 12X16 foot long cabin. There was only a dirt floor and a window that was covered with a flour sack. The winter was cold and Ethel spent her time keeping the wood stove going and cooking and cleaning. Clarence’s claim proved to be one of the richest claims in the Klondike and when they returned to Seattle with two hundred thousand dollar’s worth of gold in the summer of 1897, Ethel was dubbed the Bride of the Klondike by the newspapers. In 1898, they crossed over the Chilkoot Pass with thousands of hopeful millionaires and went back to their claim again.

       Another woman who struck it rich in the Klondike was Belinda Mulrooney. She was raised in Pennsylvania and left home at twenty-one. She worked in Chicago and then San Francisco before heading to Juneau, Alaska, in 1896. When she heard about the gold strike in the Klondike she decided to go there. She bought the necessities she would need but she also thought ahead and purchased silk underwear, bolts of cotton cloth, and hot water bottles. These she carried with her over the Chilkoot Pass in the winter of 1896.

       When the ice melted on the Lindeman and Bennett lakes and Yukon River she floated down the river to the new town of Dawson City, reaching in it June of 1987. According to Belinda Mulrooney herself, when she finally reached Dawson and the gold fields after many months of hardship, she tossed a 25-cent piece, her very last coin, into the Yukon River for luck. She was 26 years old and full of confidence. And rightly so for she sold her silk underwear, bolts of cloth, and hot water bottles for six times what she had paid for them.

       With this success, Belinda turned her attention to the prospectors in gold fields. She set up a lunch counter to feed the single men and then added a bunkhouse for those who didn’t have a cabin to stay in. Eventually she built the two story Grand Forks Hotel and Restaurant, with multiple bunk beds on the second floor, at the junction of the Eldorado and Bonanza creeks. The hotel also acted as a trading post, a gold storage, and sometimes as a church. In the back were kennels for the husky dogs used to pull the sleds which were the main transportation in the winter.

       Being the smart woman that she was, Belinda had the floor swept every evening and those sweepings run through a sluice box. This earned her as much as $100 a day from the gold dust that fell from miner’s pockets and clothing. And she began to delve into the gold claims themselves, owning or co-owning fiving mining claims by the end of 1897.

       Belinda turned her entrepreneurial skills to Dawson and bought a lot on the corner of Princess Street and First Avenue. She sold Grand Forks for $24,000 and used her profits to construct the three-story high Fair View Hotel which opened to enthusiastic and impressive reviews on July 27, 1898. This was the most impressive building in Dawson and held thirty guest rooms and a restaurant.

       Impressed by her strong business sense, a local bank asked Belinda to pull the Gold Run Mining Company out of the red. She had the company in the black in 18 months.

       Belinda married and divorced and eventually moved to eastern Washington State and built herself a castle. She and her siblings lived there until her fortune ran out and she began to rent out the castle. She died in Seattle in 1967 at the age of 95.

        These are just two examples of the many women who lived in the north, who took part in the Klondike gold rush, and who are not included in most of the books written.

http://bookswelove.net/authors/donaldson-yarmey-joan/
 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

When The World Is Your Stage


Visit André K. Baby's BWL Author page for Purchase Information from your favorite online or print bookstore

 
Hi everyone,
As a newcomer to this group, I would like to share with you few thoughts on the “métier” of writing thrillers.
One of the first challenges a thriller writer faces when putting down the foundations of his/her story is choosing the size and type of stage on which to set the story.  Will it take place in a room, on a ship, a train, in a town, or will the action take place in many locations?  Each scenario has advantages and disadvantages, while having its own set of opportunities and restrictions.  The one-location thriller will be perfect for the exploring of personal relationships and the intensifying of conflict between the characters.  Added tension is provided by the constricting aspect of the limited dimensions of a room, plane, train (aka “Murder on the Orient Express”), submarine (“Hunt for Red October”), etc.…
Alternatively, the story tension in the multi-venue thriller will be provided in part by the external stimuli offered by the various locations. The reader is transported to the locale, and will enjoy, tolerate, or suffer the physical characteristics of that locale along with the protagonist/antagonist. He’ll freeze in an Alpine mountain shelter, sweat and be thirsty in the Libyan Desert, enjoy the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, etc… Well developed, settings virtually become characters in the story.
Having been a longtime reader and admirer of the likes of Sidney Sheldon, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, Robert Ludlum, John Le Carré, Ken Follett and others, the multi-venue stage has always held a particular attraction for me.
In “The Chimera Sanction” (and its stand-alone prequel “Dead Bishops Don’t lie”), I like to think I’ve brought the reader to out- of- the ordinary locations, thrusting my protagonist Dulac into the throes of conflicts  at these  sites.  Having the action take place at the Vatican, on the searing sand dunes of the Libyan Desert, then in the middle of a storm in the Mediterranean offers reader stimuli unavailable in a single-venue story. These settings offer unique opportunities for tension, without the loss of focus on the story. Another benefit of the multi-location thriller is that it allows the author to develop parallel story lines, which funnel down into one towards the end of the story.
In my latest thriller “Jaws of the Tiger” published by BWL, I thought I would try the other option, the one locale setting in the form of a hijacked cruise ship where the action story develops, and combine it with the follow-up investigation of the crime. One might say it’s a cross-genre, combination action thriller and whodunit, and I hope it will appeal to readers of both groups.
Comments anyone?
Cheers,
André K. Baby


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Polar Bear in Banff by Victoria Chatham




Some people don’t enjoy research others, like me, thoroughly enjoy it. I love delving around in old records or talking to people who are more familiar with a subject than I am and, like a prospector mining for gold, always hoping for that one nugget that will make my story shine.

Brides of Banff Springs is set in 1935, so fairly recent history. This made it a bit easier for me as I was able to talk to people whose parents had settled in Banff and told me stories of their childhoods. One gentleman told me how he and his friends had more or less made the Banff Springs Hotel their playground and knew their way around it like the backs of their hands. They nipped in and out of the complex more or less at will and if they were ever caught, he never mentioned it.

I collected a vast amount of material in my research for this book, but I think the biggest surprise was finding that Banff once had a small zoo. It opened in 1907 in what is now Central Park, beside the Bow River. The enclosures were well designed and most had water running through them helping to keep them clean. Amongst the exhibits were monkeys, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, lynx, cougar and bears and turkey vultures in the aviary. But the biggest surprise for me was that Banff Zoo had a polar bear called Buddy.

From the records of the
Canadian Museum of History

 As tourism expanded, visitors to the area were just as likely to spot coyotes and wolves along trails and roadsides and watching bears at the town dump became a popular summer pastime. The more wildlife people could see, the less they needed to visit the zoo. It wasn’t only dwindling revenues that saw the end of the zoo, but rumors and concerns of animal cruelty. The zoo closed in 1937 and Buddy and the remaining animals were moved to the Calgary Zoo, which was much bigger.


Had it been necessary, I would have dug deeper to find out what happened to Buddy after he was relocated. But part of doing research is knowing when to quit, knowing when there is enough material to add interest to the story and when there is too much, however interesting, and that’s a fine line that changes with every author.

Find me:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

If I Could Travel Back in Time by A.M.Westerling



Gosh, that’s a tough one because to tell you the truth, I would love to visit every time period that I’ve written about. And, to a certain extent, I have.

I’ve visited castles in Luxembourg and The Netherlands. I’ve seen a bit of the Cariboo Road and strolled down Barkerville’s Main Street. (Below is St. Saviour's Anglican Church at the end of Main Street and below that is a picture of the original Cariboo Road just outside of Lytton, British Columbia.)




I’ve visited Ribe, a Viking village in Denmark. 


Ribe and Barkerville are living museums and that’s a kind of time travel without the inconvenience of actually having to deal with the not so nice aspects of historical life ie the smells, questionable personal hygiene, lack of sanitation, no modern medicine, no central heating. etc.

Having said that, I’ve never been to England and would love to visit London during the Regency period, roughly 1800-1820. I’d love to attend a proper ball and drive in a fancy carriage through Hyde Park. I’d love to visit a dressmaker and walk out with a fashionable new wardrobe. I’d love to attend the theatre or spend an afternoon at Almack’s in one of my new dresses. I’d love to spend a weekend at a house party in the country and wear an elegant riding habit. (I would ride astride, not side saddle, just to be scandalous!) I’d love to be the lady of the household with a personal maid to dress me and an army of servants at my beck and call. (Okay, okay, so I’m the lady of my own household but I am the maid and I am the servant army and I dress myself. 😊 )

I’d love to ride along Rotten Row and spend an afternoon watching the horse races at Ascot wearing some sort of stunning hat crafted by the best milliner London has to offer. And all of this, of course, accompanied by a dashing Duke or perhaps a Captain of the Royal Navy resplendent in his blue uniform.

And after experiencing all that, I would be quite happy to return to my own time and my own life. 
Would you like to experience a little time travel of your own? How about reading Barkerville Beginnings, or any of the books in the Canadian Historical Brides Collection? You can find it HERE at your favourite online book store. 



Here's what readers are saying about Barkerville Beginnings:

"I really enjoyed “Barkerville Beginnings”, from the very first page I was hooked. I found the story very immersing and appreciated how Ms. Westerling wrote so vividly that I felt like I was right there in the story with each of the characters; seeing and experiencing everything that they did.
A few years ago I worked for Barkerville and have a fairly good knowledge of its history and the townsite as it stands today. With this understanding of the townsite I feel like Ms. Westerling did a very good job of portraying the town, the history, and bringing to life some of the more prominent figures who lived in Barkerville, including judge Begbie and Moses, the town barber. I also found it very refreshing that she didn’t just incorporate the European history that is typically covered, instead there was an incorporation of the Chinese history and their contributions to the town included and given as much merit as any of the businesses that were owned and run by the white town folks." Crystal B.


"As someone who has lived my whole life in British Columbia, and has visited ALL of the cities and towns mentioned (with the exception of those in England) in this work of historical fiction, I was satisfied and delighted with the careful attention to factual detail that was expertly woven into the story." Discerning Reader 

 





































I really enjoyed “Barkerville Beginnings”, from the very first page I was hooked. I found the story very immersing and appreciated how Ms. Westerling wrote so vividly that I felt like I was right there in the story with each of the characters; seeing and experiencing everything that they did.

A few years ago I worked for Barkerville and have a fairly good knowledge of its history and the townsite as it stands today. With this understanding of the townsite I feel like Ms. Westerling did a very good job of portraying the town, the history, and bringing to life some of the more prominent figures who lived in Barkerville, including judge Begbie and Moses, the town barber. I also found it very refreshing that she didn’t just incorporate the European history that is typically covered, instead there was an incorporation of the Chinese history and their contributions to the town included and given as much merit as any of the businesses that were owned and run by the white town folks.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Spirits Can See Red


Residential School Escape
Coming of Age in the Wilderness

http://www.bookswelove.com/authors/waldron-juliet-historical-romance/



https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/752162



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Christine Cayedeto, Aged 9, disappeared from her front yard in 1986
  • Tiffany Maureen Skye, 19, disappeared August 8, 2011; she was Bloodvein First Nation;
  • Annie Pootoogook, 46, an renown artist from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, was found dead in the Ottawa River, September 19, 2016 
  • Rose-Anne Blackned, 24, mother of two, found frozen in the Val D'Or, Quebec, on November 16, 1991
  • Olivia Lone Bear, mother of five, her body discovered nine months later, June 25, 2018

Besides the fact that they are women, what else do they have in common? The years of their deaths/disappearances are different, as are their ages.




All these women are indigenous, some from the US, others from Canada. According to the U.S. Justice Department, indigenous women face murder rates--on some reservations--as much as 10X above the national average.

This shameful statistic is caused by a long standing inequity in the law. If a native woman is assaulted by a non-native person on tribal land, they will not be prosecuted, because the tribal police may not arrest or prosecute a non-native person. This has, very simply, created open season on native women. Rates of homicide and disappearance of native women and girls, apparently for the sex trade, appear to be ever-growing. Spikes of violence are now occurring in the oil rush fields of the U.S. and Canada where transient workers come and go.  


If an indigenous person is accused of killing a non-native person on the reservation, he may be prosecuted twice--by the tribal authorities and by whatever state in which the crime was committed. You may say that the fact that this remains law here in the 21st Century, is nothing more or less than institutionalized racism. However, solutions remain difficult, for the problems are many and complicated. 


Tribal police are hesitant to give state police any assistance or make it any easier for non-native law enforcement officers to come onto their land. Add to this that the tribal police are generally underfunded and that the territories which they cover are enormous. Next comes the poverty, substance abuse, family disruption (among these, the residential school system) and lack of work on the reservations, which exacerbates the tragic history of the people who live there. Racial violence is now embedded in indigenous bodies, descendants of brutalized survivors. 


Violence is an often-unacknowledged part of our European American past. Most of our people fled injustice, starvation, and sectarian violence in their lands of origin. This ancestral violence, likewise planted in our bodies (and, it now appears, in our very DNA) has been, in turn, visited upon the original inhabitants of North America.

There's 500 hundred years of bad blood between immigrants and indigenous people.  It's unsurprising that European Americans and 1st Nations' meet and sometimes clash in the border towns where  indigenous people must to come in order to find work or get supplies. Some of these cities/towns appear to have resident gangs waiting to abduct young women for the sex trade.


In an effort to raise awareness of the issue, several art projects have been created. One is The Red Dress Project. This began in Canada and is a public art commemoration of the Aboriginal women known to be missing or murdered. Canadian Jaime Black (Metis) began the project in 2000. 


Jaime Black explains: "Red is the only color spirits can see. So (red) is really a calling back of the spirits of these women, allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through their family members and community." 






A few of the  organizations trying to raise awareness of these Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women using both civic action and art may be found @




Native women’s Association of Canada


This group is designed to raise awareness about the Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women crisis in Canada—violence against women, girls and two-spirit persons.


Sisters in Spirit vigils continue to be held across Canada every year on the 4th of October.



The home site of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women:





Meanwhile:

Tylena Walkalong, 14 years old, last seen in Billings Montana, August, 2018


Talelei Oldcrane, 12, disappeared June 17, 2018, Billings, Montana

Valencia and Valentina Haswood, aged 16 and 14, last seen in Sawmill, AZ 08/18

Khadijah Britton, 24, abducted at gunpoint by an ex-boyfriend, Mendocino, CA, 02/07/18...

European North American women like myself have made limited progress towards equality under the law, but aboriginal women and women of color have been left behind.  We must remember the names of these lost sisters and hope that their spirits, though battered, will find their way home when they see the red dress. 

We must "Pray for the dead, and fight like Hell for the Living."*



~~Juliet Waldron


See All My Historical Novels @
julietwaldron.com

* Mother Jones

Another view of the Red Dress Movement in this powerful article:

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/terese-marie-mailhot/dont-hang-a-red-dress-for-me_a_23019892/