Friday, March 31, 2017

RIDER COMING IN!!!


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By Mary Davis

On April 3, 1860 two horseback riders raced across the West, one westbound from St. Joseph, Missouri and the other eastbound from Sacramento, California. And the PONY EXPRESS was born, filling a much needed gap until the telegraph line could be completed. The telegraph was finished on October 24, 1861, rendering the Pony Express obsolete.

As a rider would approach a station, a lookout called, “RIDER COMING IN!” A special “bare bones” saddle was strapped onto a fresh horse and stood ready. The incoming rider would jump down, the four-pocket, leather mochila transferred to the waiting horse, the timecard marked, and the same rider or a new one would leap up and race off. The exchange took about two minutes.

Pony Express stations were set up 10-15 miles apart with fresh horses. A rider typically rode 75-100 miles. Bob Haslam is reported to have once ridden 380 miles in 36 hours. Buffalo Bill Cody claims the longest ride by four miles.

Though postage cost $10 an ounce at the start and $2 by the end, the Pony Express grossed only $90,000 and lost as much as $200,000.

The Pony Express was mostly used by the military as the Civil War approached and began. Because of the high cost, ordinary folks almost never used the Pony Express.

“The story of the Pony Express is one of the most romanticized events in the history of the United States. In some ways, the Pony Express could be considered one of the most famous financial failures about which little is truly known, but much is told.” (Here Comes the Pony! By William E. Hill)




Mary's story in THE PONY EXPRESS ROMANCE COLLECTION is An Unlikely Hero.
BethAnn along with her little sister are running from a mistake and finds security at a Pony Express station and love in the quiet affection of a shy Pony Express rider known as the “Fox.”


AN UNLIKELY HERO
Excerpt from Chapter One
June 1861
No one would likely be following them tonight. BethAnn White tightened her hold around her twelve-year-old sister as the eastbound stagecoach came to a lurching stop.
The driver called out, “Head of Echo Canyon Stagecoach and Pony Express Station.”
BethAnn accepted the offered hand and stepped down from the stage, then turned to help Molly. She gazed in the direction they’d come from. The sun was just dipping behind the western ridge.
She heard rapidly approaching hoofbeats but couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from in the dimming evening light. The sound bounced off the canyon walls, making the sound appear to be coming from everywhere.
“Rider coming in!” someone yelled. That, too, bounced around and came from everywhere.
This could be exciting to see a Pony Express rider exchange. She searched the area around her. Where was Molly?
The hoofbeats grew louder, and station personnel scurried around.
Molly would not want to miss this. Where was she? BethAnn stepped out in front of the stagecoach team and saw the outline of the rider racing in from the east.
Then she saw her.
Her baby sister.
Her only family.
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In the path of a several-hundred-pound charging animal.

Award-winning novelist MARY DAVIS has over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is a member of ACFW and active in two critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty years and two cats. She has three adult children and one grandchild. Website     FB
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TUESDAY TIDBITS

As I'm trying to get back into blogging, I'm going to start a new series on Tuesdays called--you guessed it--TUESDAY TIDBITS.

This is where I'll post interesting things about the current story I'm writing, interesting research morsels, and other things I might find interesting in the writing process. I plan to start this series today with...

"Things I Never Thought I'd Know."

So in my current project, my hero makes wooden furniture. Wanting to make his furniture stand out from the run-of-the-mill fare, I chose to have him use more natural finishes that are not what you'd usually find.

So he uses a home-made boiled linseed oil and a home-made beeswax. These finishes are not as durable as a lacquer or varnish.

A home-made boiled linseed oil is different than a store bought one in that it doesn't have chemicals and apparently smells really good. But it is dangerous to make because it can catch on fire very easily. My hero takes many precautions, so he makes his own. I don't recommend making your own.

And guess what linseed oil is made from? Flaxseed. I never would have guessed. So why is it called linseed oil and not boiled flaxseed oil? A question to ponder another day.

He also makes his own beeswax furniture wax. This can be made with beeswax and oil. Some of the oils people use are olive oil, almond oil, walnut oil, tung oil, mineral oil, etc. My guy uses one of the edible oils because he makes cooking spoon and children's toys among larger furniture. This is generally equal parts beeswax and the chosen type of oil melted and mixed. Depending on the ratio will make the paste consistency different, some thicker and some thinnner. Some add a touch of carnauba wax.

I'll be skipping TUESDAY TIDBITS next week as I'm doing a series to promote the other authors in a novella collection, THE PONY EXPRESS ROMANCE COLLECTION, I'm in that releases on Saturday, April 1st. The first post about this new release will be this Friday, March 31st.