Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Historical Festivals -- Next Best Thing to Time Travel

Mini-Eliza #1 with a Lady of the Court
I must offer you my most humble apologies for not posting in months...  Earlier this year I delved into writing historical fiction, and my main characters are historic figures.  The amount of research and world building was an immense project, which I've only recently completed.  I am very pleased with the work though, a novel which takes place at the court of Henry VIII.  I will keep you posted about the story.  Currently my agent and my crit partner are reading through it, and I'm hoping for only one more revision before it is sent on submission.

Now onto my post!  How historical festivals are in essence like time travel!

As a writer of historical fiction, historical and time travel romance, I have to breathe life into a time that no longer exists, dress up characters in costumes that are way out of date, have them speak in a way that is no longer common.  Books can only tell you so much.  Movies help sometimes--and other times they are grossly incorrect.  Historical documentaries are a life saver! 

But sometimes, you just want to travel through time.  To enter a world where the people you write about come to life, and you walk and talk amongst them.  And that is where historical festivals come in.

We have a Renaissance Festival that comes to our area for two months out of the year.  They have their own grounds, replete with list fields, merchant houses, ale houses, and all other sorts of entertainments.  Walking minstrels, shouting bards, jongleurs, knights, lords, ladies and even King Henry VIII and a couple of his wives are in attendance...

Mini-Eliza #3 eating a giant turkey leg
For me, it is exhilarating to walk into the festival.  To be called, "My lady," to drink mead, eat a hunk of meat and spend the day watching and observing.  This year, I was tickled beyond pink that I got to go to the festival twice.  My husband loves the festival as well, but we hadn't been in several years because of having little ones.  We still have three little ones, but for some reason this year it was like magic.  They loved it so much!  Had so much fun that when we suggested going again, they were thrilled at the prospect.  It may be that the festival has lots of fun things for kids too which they fully imbibed in:  rock wall climbing, pony rides, elephant rides, a park, a giant slide, but they also enjoyed watching the knights fight in the list, and the lords and ladies walking by.

Mini-Eliza #2 with a Courtier, who was
extremely impressed with how she tore
right into that turkey leg
 But also, perhaps, its that because I live and breathe history, I talk about it a lot at home.  I find children's books on history and read them to my kids.  We go to museums, we watch the history channel together.  Either my children have an appreciation for that time period or they know no other way since I can't stop talking about it.  When we arrived to the festival the first time, there was a large painted portrait, I pointed to it, and to my oldest said, "Oh, wow, do you know who that is?"  I did not expect her to know, seriously.  Her reply "Mom, that's Henry VIII."  My heart lurched with pride that she was able to see him and recognize him from a painting!  I think from that moment on, I knew we'd have a great time.  And although this was two months ago, they are still talking about it.

So in essence, attending the festival is like stepping into a live world of my book (minus the demons and faeries) and for several hours, I could pretend I'd travelled through time.  I haven't yet been to a Celtic Festival or a Highland Games.  There is a Celtic Festival coming to my area in April next year, which I fully intend on enjoying.  And I've heard there is a Highland Games nearby as well, so I will have to look into that.

Do you enjoy going to festivals?  What is your favorite part?  What kind of festivals do you have near you?

PS....  I will be away from my computer most of that day, but will be checking in this evening!

Eliza is the author of historical romance and time travel erotic romance.  She also writes historical fiction as Michelle Brandon.  Visit her at http://www.elizaknight.com/, http://www.historyundressed.blogspot.com/ or http://www.authormichellebrandon.com/

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Winner!!

CJ send me an e-mail at patyjagatgmaildotcom with your snail mail address and which of my books you would like. You'll receive that along with a box of Country Christmas cards. Thank you for commenting.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Prettige kerstdagen en een gelukkig nieuwjaar

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I receive several Christmas cards with this greeting every year. My husband's family is from the Netherlands, and we receive Christmas cards from many of his aunts, uncles, and cousins this time of year.

The first Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 but Sir Henry Cole. There were 2,050 printed and they sold for a shilling. These first Christmas cards didn't depict Christmas. The images were of spring, children, and animals. The saying on the cards: wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In 1875 Louis Prang was the first printer to offer cards in America. These were very intricate and beautiful cards. But they were soon pushed aside by postcards that were easier to make and cheaper to send. By the 1920's the card and envelope greetings came back into style.

As world events came along they would be depicted in the cards of that year.

The first "official" Christmas card began in the 1840's when Queen Victoria send cards with portraits of the royal family at events. Later in 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower sent the first "official" White House Christmas card.

I've become one of the "newsletter" Christmas card senders. I write up a newsletter on the computer, print it out, and send it. But I love getting cards especially from other countries.

Do you send Christmas cards or letters? Do you get ones from other countries? If so what countries?

Because I love giving and it 'tis the season'- If you leave a comment you're name will be entered to win a box of western themed Christmas cards and one of my books.


Paty Jager

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Sam Bass, Outlaw
Born on a farm near Mitchell, Indiana on July 21, 1851, Sam Bass was the son of Elizabeth Jane (Sheeks) and Daniel Bass. He was orphaned, probably by age ten. He and his brother and sisters moved to a nearby farm to live with a reportedly abusive uncle and his nine children. He ran away in 1869 and—with no formal schooling—worked most of a year in a sawmill in Rosedale, Mississippi. In the summer of 1870, he left for cattle country and arrived in Denton, Texas in the fall. Cowboy life was not as he had pictured it, so he returned to Denton. He worked for a hotel, in the stables of Sheriff William Egan caring for livestock, cutting firewood, and spending much of his time as a freighter between Denton and the railroad towns of Dallas and Sherman.

Soon Bass became interested in horse racing. In 1874, he acquired a racing horse that became known as the Denton Mare. After winning most of his races in North Texas, he took this mare to San Antonio. When his racing played out in 1876, he and Joel Collins gathered a small herd of longhorn cattle for their several owners. The two drovers reached Dodge City and decided to trail the cattle further north where prices were higher. After selling the herd and paying the hands, they had $8,000 in their pockets. Instead of returning to Texas where they owed the money, they squandered it gambling in Ogallala, Nebraska and in Deadwood, South Dakota.

After Union Pacific
In 1877, Bass and Collins tried freighting without success, so they recruited several hardened characters to rob stagecoaches. Collins and Bass with four others rode to Big Springs, Nebraska where they held up the Union Pacific passenger train. They took $60,000 in newly minted twenty-dollar gold pieces from the express car plus $1,300 and four gold watches from passengers. They divided the loot and went in different directions. Within a few weeks, Collins and two others were killed while resisting arrest. Bass made it back to Texas and formed a new gang.

Sam Bass, standing
at left, with his new gang
The new Bass gang held up two stagecoaches and robbed four trains within twenty-five miles of Dallas. They didn’t steal much money, but their activities enraged citizens. A special company of Texas Rangers headed by Junius Peak chased the gang across North Texas. In a sweep of all residents suspected of harboring the bandits, Jim Murphy and his father Henderson Murphy were arrested and Jim taken to Tyler to face charges of robbing the U.S. mails. Jim turned informer and agreed to rejoin the gang and betray Sam Bass to the Rangers.

On July 14, 1878 Sam, Frank Jackson, and Seaborn Barnes arrived in Round Rock to case the bank one final time while Jim waited at camp. They went into Kopperal’s General Store. Williamson County Deputy Sheriff Grimes decided to investigate the men’s actions, and was accompanied by Travis County Deputy Sheriff Morris Moore. Shooting broke out and Grimes was killed and Moore severely wounded. Barnes died, but an injured Bass was helped by Jackson and escaped. Texas Ranger Ware, who was getting a shave at the time, ran into the street and fired at the escaping bandits and believed he shot Bass. Ranger Harold believed he wounded Bass. Ranger Jones was at the telegraph office, heard the commotion, and he also fired at the bandits.

Who actually shot Sam Bass was never completely decided. The Rangers called off the search to avoid what they feared as an “outlaw war” of reprisal. But on July 20, two men discovered Bass leaning against a tree. He’d given Jackson his mount, guns, cash, and all his ammunition. When approached, he said, “I’m Sam Bass, the man that has been wanted so long.” He died the following day on his 27th birthday. Jim Murphy died the following year, but no one is certain whether he committed suicide or Frank Jackson killed him.

Original tombstone
Sam Bass’ original tombstone, erected by his sister, has been chipped away by souvenir hunters. It said “A brave man reposes in death here. Why was he not true?” A new stone, seen below, has been erected by Round Rock’s Historic Preservation Commission.  Seaborn Barnes' grave is beside that of Bass.

Rosston (twenty miles from Gainesville, Texas) where Bass reportedly lived, celebrates Sam Bass Day on the third Saturday in July. Round Rock has celebrated Frontier Days on July 4th since 1964.

The preceding material was taken from data available from Texas State Historical Society Handbook of History Online and the City of Round Rock information.
Caroline Clemmons writes western historical, time travel and contemporary romances. Her website is http://www.carolineclemmons.com/ and her blog is at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com