Posts Tagged ‘Western Historical’

“Mayberry on Acid”

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

“Mayberry on Acid” reads the sign in one of the many tourist shops that climb the main street of Bisbee, AZ.  The town sits eight miles from the border of Mexico and I visited in February because of a recommendation of a man sitting next to me on a bar stool in Tuscon.

“You should go!” So I did.

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

The town’s elevation attracts tourists because it is about 10 degrees cooler here than in Tuscon.  You might need a burro to climb the main street or reach one of the guest houses.  Many of these accommodations feature fabulous views, streets that would put San Francisco’s crooked street to shame and stairs, stairs and more stairs.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

We stayed in the Copper Queen.  You can’t miss it.  This is the biggest building in town.  I was built when the Copper Mine opened, then a hard-rock mine.  It remained there for the famous, the working class and the working-girls.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Two plaques drew my attention.  President Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, of course, and actor John Wayne, also of course. The names of other plaques were not familiar but I discovered they are former working girls and one is a resident ghost.  They still rent his room, though.

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past.

Entering the lobby and looking at the safe tucked behind the counter and the old room keys, I really felt I should ask for a brandy and a cigar.

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

There are many artists in Bisbee and creative folks.  This is a fence made of old metal headboards that I found really creative.

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Not all the sights are awe-inspiring. This is the remains of the Lavender Pit – an open pit copper mine.

900 feet deep scar sits south of Bisbee – the Lavender Pit is named for the man who founded the mine, not for the color of the stone.

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The bars that were once filled with copper miners are now filled with tourists drinking margaritas.

I sat at the bar in this popular Mexican restaurant and watched the bartender making Margaritas like a Margarita-making machine.  They are the most popular drink there, he said.  I watched a petite woman finish hers and weave out the door with her date who looked none too steady on his feet.  Seems like a one-and-done drink.



ROAD TRIP: Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Boothill in Tombstone, AZ at sunset.

“The only stone out there you will find is your tombstone.”

That is supposed to be what soldiers told the founder of the town of Tombstone, AZ.  But they were wrong.  Ed Schieffelin found silver.  A lot of silver.  But those soldiers were right about one thing.   Bunches of people did find their tombstone there.  I know because I recently visited Tombstone, AZ cemetery otherwise known as Boot Hill.  Many graveyards are called this because of the number of men who died with their boots on.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop. I wonder if one of the fingers he lacked was his trigger finger.

Tombstone is a misnomer here because, although each grave is piled with stones to keep out critters, the markers are made of wood. Tombwood just sounds wrong, though.  Doesn’t it?

                      1881 – Hanged.

A woman working in the gift shop told me the weather is so rough on the wood they have to remake the markers every seven years.

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        You know the OK Coral?

The most famous residents here are the losers of the shootout at the OK Coral (Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury).  But there is no shortage of interesting ways to die here.

Some markers have the cause of death but no names.

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Here lies an unfortunate teamster killed by Apaches. Cause of death, but no name.

Some have no name or cause of death.

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

Sometime you get the name and the cause of death but no real answers as to why or how this happened.  Here is the grave of George Hand who was, apparently killed by Indians.

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George Hand -Killed by Indians

Some markers are just plain tragic.  This man’s marker reads: Here lies George Johnson Hanged by Mistake 1882 –He was right and we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone.

George bought a stolen horse, rode it into Tombstone where he was arrested and hanged for horse theft.  No one believed his story and the truth arrived too late for Mr. Johnson.

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There is no way to correct some mistakes, like, for instance, hanging an innocent man.

Most of the deaths were violent, but not all.  My brochure, purchased for $2, relates that one cowboy who laid to rest in an unconventional manner.  His friends lassoed his ankles and dragged him into his grave because no one really likes to touch a person who died of smallpox.

There are some markers renowned for their poetry, rather than for containing the famous remains of famous folk.  This one is often quoted.  Perhaps you have heard of it:

HERE LIES

Lester Moore.

FOUR SLUGS FROM A 44

NO LES

NO MORE

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                        Poor Lester

They don’t really know all the stories of all the men and women laid here to rest.  I’m left to wonder about just what happened to some of these folks because their graves give no clue.

I can’t really imagine what Tombstone was like in its heyday, but I do know it was not boring.



Female Warriors

Monday, August 31st, 2015
Running Wolf, July 2015

Running Wolf, July 2015

Have you ever dreamed for the impossible?

My heroine, Snow Raven, is a Western historical character of the Crow nation who feels trapped by her role as a woman. She does not like preparing hides, preparing meals and preparing lodges. All she wants is to hunt and raid like her brother and the father who raised her. In short, she wants to be a warrior. Now this would be impossible in many cultures. But many Native American tribes were more tolerant of differences. A man could take on the care-giving role of a woman or stay home and paint medicine symbols on shields and lodges. And, rarely, a woman did decided to follow the way of the warrior. The question is how will she become a warrior and earn her place among the brave protectors of her tribe especially after she is captured by an enemy warrior.

Snow Raven is one of my strongest female characters (#Strongheroines). I am always striving to make my heroes rugged and my heroines resilient.   Both my primary characters are tough and powerful, yet with hidden vulnerabilities.

I’d like to share a short excerpt from the opening of RUNNING WOLF, July 2015, where you can see my heroine in action.

Raven lowered herself flat to her horse’s neck and gave Song her head. They fairly flew over the ground.

As she tore over the animal trail, she noticed a tanned-colored lump lying in the path. A fawn, she thought as Song snorted and jumped the tiny obstacle. Raven gaped when she saw that the carcass was a village dog with one arrow sticking from its ribs. At a glance she recognized that the fletching on the shaft was not like the ones of her people.

The hairs on her neck rose.

Raven opened her mouth to scream a warning to her brother, but another scream filled the air, farther away, one coming from their fishing camp. Her brother straightened in his saddle and then did something she had never seen him do. He slapped his open hand on his horse’s broad muscular shoulder. The horse lunged forward as Raven slowed.

“The camp!” she yelled.

“Run,” shouted her brother as he surged past her with Little Badger and Turns Too Slowly on his horse’s flank. Raven wheeled her horse to flee but then thought of the women, caught between the lake and attack. Song seemed to know her mind before Snow Raven did, for her mare raced after the other horses. They broke from the trees into chaos. The men in the village were fighting from the ground as mounted warriors ran at a gallop through the camp upsetting cooking kettles and trampling lodges. She saw that they were Sioux by the cut of the enemy’s war shirts and because they wore their hair in twin braids, like a Crow woman.

Her brother gave a whoop and charged, drawing the fight to them while giving the women and children time to flee in the opposite direction. The Sioux were outnumbered but they were mounted and had the advantage of surprise.

Snow Raven drew up at the woods, calling to the women, telling them to flee in this direction where there was good cover. Raven watched in horror as she saw two of the Sioux break away from the fight to follow the retreating women.

She saw her old grandmother hobbling along at an ungainly trot. Truthful Woman had raised Snow Raven since the time of her mother’s death, but could no longer run because she was bent and her joints were puffy and stiff. With each moment her grandmother fell farther behind, the Sioux in pursuit.

Was that their aim, then, to take captives? Or was this a fight over territory, as her brother had said? Either way they could easily kill her grandmother on their way to the younger, more useful captives.

Raven pressed her heels into her horse’s flanks and gave her first war cry. She swung her bow over her head and reached back for an arrow. The lead warrior dressed in a red war shirt trimmed with long strands of trophy hair grabbed Truthful Woman by the multistrand shell and bead necklaces that circled her throat. Raven vowed the red-shirt would not harm her grandmother, though he was upon her already. Truthful Woman was dragged backward against her enemy’s horse. Her hands went to her windpipe and her face turned scarlet. The warrior shook his hand, further strangling Raven’s grandmother.

Snow Raven screamed again and notched her arrow but was too close to shoot.

She dropped her bow and rammed his horse with hers. Song’s muscular chest collided with the other horse’s flank, causing the beast to skitter sideways. The necklaces broke away in the Sioux’s hand and Truthful Woman dropped to her knees choking and gagging.

Snow Raven launched herself from her saddle onto the warrior’s chest. The thud jarred her teeth as they toppled together from his horse.

Raven landed on top of the warrior. The jolt robbed the wind from the man’s body and gave Raven the moment she needed to draw her skinning knife and lift it above her head. Today she would send this snake to his ancestors and take her first war trophy. The warrior’s wide eyes stared up at her as she thrust, preparing to lodge the knife into the center of her enemy’s throat.

RUNNING WOLF by Jenna Kernan ©2015, Harlequin Historicals

I hope you enjoyed that short snippet from RUNNING WOLF and that you love #StrongHeroines and rugged men as much as I do!

**This post first appeared on Pink Heart Society blog in July 2015**



Jenna’s July News

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Jenna with the Beefeaters at the Tower of London

Jenna with the Beefeaters at the Tower of London

This July my husband and I celebrated an important anniversary in style with a trip to Great Britain, much of the time in Liverpool and London. What marvelous cities. Liverpool is a wonderful port city and London perfectly mixes fascinating history with an ultra-modern urban center.

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It is true what Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

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In July, I also completed my next Western Historical and am happy to report that the finished manuscript is now with my editor. More details on that as they arrive.

This story is tentatively called Medicine Woman but I am only 50/50 on my titles so that may change. Here’s a tiny teaser:

MEDICINE WOMAN…Coming soon from Harlequin Historicals

When a Crow warrior develops a mysterious falling sickness he captures the woman he believes cursed him and discovers that she is not a witch but may be the only one who can help him.

Please check back for title changes, release dates, excerpts,and giveaways.



Newsletter Subscribers Only Giveaway

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Jenna Kernan's Subscriber's only giveaway!

Jenna Kernan’s Subscriber’s only giveaway!

I’m preparing a newsletter this week that will mail to my subscribers at the end of the month.  To celebrate the release of RUNNING WOLF, July 1, I am running a member’s only giveaway.

I’m offering two of my autographed paranormal romances. Newsletter goes out soon.

Are you a subscriber?

www.jennakernan.com to join.

The first Twitter ad created by the author

Releases July 1