Halloween 1870s Style

Post by Doris McCraw


First, I’ll get my new story/promotion out of the way. I have a story in the anthology “One Yuletide Knight” that is now up for pre-order and will be available as an ebook on November 2, 2017 with the print version available shortly after. You can purchase it at: One Yuletide Knight

With October 31, Halloween, approaching, I thought it might be fun to look at how people perceived that date in the 1870s in what most would call the West. Below are some actual pieces from papers of that time.

Here we have almost an advertisement for the evening from the Atchison Globe from Friday October 31, 1879 issue in Atchison, Kansas


And this warning from the Lawrence, Kansas, Lawrence Republican Daily Journal of October 24, 1878. Seems mischief has been around for longer than we may have thought.


For the history of the day we can thank the Sedalia, Missouri, Sedalia Daily Democrat of Saturday, November 2, 1878. 



Of course no Halloween would be without the special events that take place. Here from Alden, Iowa issue of the October 10, 1879 issue, we have the following 

halloween fest

And finally this clip from a piece called “The Fairy Quest” from the Saturday, October 4, 1879 issue of the Republic County Journal of Scandia, Kansas.

clip from story halloween

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what folks back in the 1870s thought about October 31 and Halloween. There are so many stories, and I’m sure each of you have your own. However you celebrate of not, enjoy the fall season and don’t eat too much candy.  I know I won’t be bobbing for apples like I did when I was younger, but I might have a piece of…

Doris Gardner-McCraw -Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here



The Branding of “Stephen Buehler”™

Stephen Buehler

By Stephen Buehler

In my last blog I talked about my anticipation of going to Left Coast Crime, a mystery writers and readers convention that will be held in Phoenix 2/25 – 2/28.

On the very first day of the conference at 9am, I have signed up for an event called, Author Speed Dating. For 2 hours, 40 authors will hop from table to table pitching whatever they want. It works like this; there are 10 chairs at each table and 8 of them are already filled with other writers and readers. When the first bell rings, 2 authors will sit with the group of 8 and talk. One author gets to speak for 2 minutes, a bell rings, the other author gets to talk for 2 minutes, then the bell rings again and the traveling authors move to another table and start it all over again.Speed dating

Most authors have new books or even old books to pitch. I don’t. I have two short stories in anthologies that came out over a year ago. It’s just not sexy, (Hollywood term for what’s exciting right now.) Don’t get me wrong, I feel it’s a big accomplishment to be published in anthologies but I’m just one author among at least 12. It’s a hard sell to get people to buy the book just for my story. So this is what I’m doing instead. I’m making Stephen Buehler a brand. By the time I’m done with my pitch I hope each person will know that when they read anything by Stephen Buehler they will be entertained, mystified and have a good time. That’s my goal.

Here’s my plan: Since I don’t have any new work to show off, I’m going to be the show off. I have devised a magic trick with 2 of my business cards (each card had a cover of a different anthology). I will perform the trick for the table, talk briefly about my published 2 short stories, then talk about my 2 upcoming books, Detective Rules and The Mindreading Murders. I’m hoping my presentation will stand out from the other authors who will probably be pitching the plots to their new books.

Now mind you, there is no publisher attached to my two novels yet. One publisher has given me a Revised and Resubmit for Detective Rules, but that’s no guarantee. My goal is not to necessarily to have my tablemates remember the books, but if they do, that’s great. I want them to remember Stephen Buehler, the author who is fun to hang around and shows them a good time. When my books are eventually published, (keep your fingers crossed), hopefully they remember my name and my brand.

Last Exit - book cover
“Not My Day”
“A Job’s A Job”

To help remind them of the Stephen Buehler brand, I will be giving away a goodie bag to everyone who listens to my pitch. In the bag are the business cards used in the magic trick plus instructions for each person to learn how to do the trick themselves. If they do show other people the trick, they’ll be advertising my anthologies, Last Exit to Murder and Believe Me Not: An Unreliable Anthology. I’ll be getting free publicity. Also in the bag will be a bookmark for The Mindreading Murders and a postcard of Detective Rules, which hopefully are amusing and enjoyable -like the Stephen Buehler brand. Plus, in the bag I’ll be adding my secret weapon – candy.  You can’t go wrong with candy.


That’s the Stephen Buehler plan. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What ways have you devised to market yourself and your books?


Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not An Unreliable Anthology.  He is expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner.  www.stephenbuehler.com

O is for Ornery by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

If I Were a Millionaire

“Take a pencil and paper,” the teacher said, “and write an essay with the title ‘If I Were a Millionaire’ “

Everyone but Little Johnny, who leaned back with arms folded, began to write furiously.

“What’s the matter,” the teacher asked. “Why don’t you begin?”

“I’m waiting for my secretary,” he replied.


In the A to Z Challenge I got the letter O. Just like everyone else I thought of several different things, but the first thing that came to mind was Ornery-not pronounced with 3 syllables, but with 2 as in Orn-ree, and Orn-ree was the last O I thought of too, so Ornery it is.

By the way, when I was a child I thought Ornery was a cuss word, every time someone called me Orn-ree, they whispered it.

The Dictionary definition of ORNERY

: easily annoyed or angered

  • I’m getting more and more ornery in my old age.

: difficult to deal with or control

  • an ornery mule

My definition follows these lines.

Ornery: a good-spirited trickster, a cute yet exasperating individual, or someone who is mischievous (with a positive connotation). Many thought of a favorite and sweet wily grandparent or an adorable child who is always pulling April-fools-type tricks.


The Little Rascals were Orn-ree


Kids are just naturally orn-ree and it’s been said that boys are more orn-ree than girls, except maybe for me, I was pretty orn-ree, and to hear my husband tell it, I still am.

If you are looking for some fun tales of orneriness just check out this great book by several authors. “Boys Will be Boys—the joys and terrors of raising boys” will make you laugh until you cry or make you cry until you laugh. It is full of tales about boys, along with some pointers about handling them.

Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

Here’s a snippet from one of Del Grogg’s stories:

I was already in trouble from Dad. That was partially Bobby’s fault too. I didn’t think of becoming a miner all on my own. As we sat in the hole, Dad passed by us and said, “Fill that in.”

That really made me madder than a hornet whose nest had been torn down and set on fire with kerosene. It had been a lot of work digging that hole, and I wasn’t about to put that dirt back. As soon as Dad was out of earshot I put my little chubby fists on my hips and said, “I’m runding away. You with me?”


There are so many more stories in this fun and fact-filled book, some of them are by Our (another nice O word) very Own Mike Staton and Frank Larnerd.


***So were you Ornery or Orn-ree?***

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. 

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 
Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Hop on Board to read from the A to Z Blog Challenge Post A-to-Z Road Trip


Writing the Human Condition

Post copyright Doris McCraw








Writers write about the human condition. We tell stories about falling in love, solving mysteries and defeating evil.  Still at the heart of every story is the joys and sorrows of our heroes and heroines. Each person tells the story as they know it, but where do we turn when we want to understand the condition? For myself, it is some of the old and new classics.

Who doesn’t respond to the speech in Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

It is probably one of my favorite of all the lines Shakespeare wrote and there are many.








The Helen (Hunt) Jackson poem Two Truths speaks of the dichotomy of love

Darling,’ he said, ‘I never meant
To hurt you;’ and his eyes were wet.
‘I would not hurt you for the world:
Am I to blame if I forget?’

‘Forgive my selfish tears!’ she cried,
‘Forgive! I knew that it was not
Because you meant to hurt me, sweet-
I knew it was that you forgot!’

But all the same, deep in her heart
Rankled this thought, and rankles yet,-
‘When love is at its best, one loves
So much that he cannot forget.’



For the sheer pleasure of reading and hearing life stories about the human condition,  you have only to read Edgar Lee Masters “Spoon River Anthology”.  A classic when published in 1915. To me it still has the power to make me laugh, cry, and be angry. It tells the tales of a small town through the epitaphs of the inhabitants. http://spoonriveranthology.net/spoon/river/

Who hasn’t felt the pain of not being loved like Mabel Osborne as she says at the end of her story?

I who loved you, Spoon River,And craved your love,
Withered before your eyes, Spoon River--
Thirsting, thirsting,
Voiceless from chasteness of soul to ask you for love,
You who knew and saw me perish before you,
Like this geranium which someone has planted over me,
And left to die.

Or the joy of living like Lucinda Matlock at the end of hers:

At ninety--six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you--
It takes life to love Life.

Who inspires you? Who do you turn to when you want to delve into the human condition?

Until next time, here is to writing that gives us joy, teaches something and brings us together in a common understanding of what it is to be human.


Product Details

HOME FOR HIS HEART by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines, available on:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords

Follow my haiku post five days a week at: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com

“Film & Photography on the Front Range” : the stories of the people who made film and photograph history on the Colorado Front Range. You can buy online at: http://www.amazon.com

Cover to Cover-Judge a Book by Its Cover by Cher’ley

This Blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Do you Judge a Book by the Cover? Of course you do. That’s the first thing you notice and then you proceed from there. Perhaps the first chapter or the back cover. Sometimes we scan from Cover to Cover.

From an expert, JK Waters

Jeri – JeriWB Author & Editor. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jeriwb.com/_br

Designing the cover is a crucially important step in the success of your book. After all the cover is the portal to your reader. It is your

Guess What?
An interesting cover, I thought. Guess What? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

opportunity to capture their imagination, set the mood, and pull them in and get them to click that button to buy your book. Readers are assaulted with thousands of titles online and in book stores. If your book cover is boring, doesn’t convey your story, or is poorly done they will not stop on the image, much less spend money on your book. So how do you create a stunning cover that will grab your reader’s attention?






5 Expert Tips on Creating a Winning Book Cover. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jeriwb.com/coverdesign-5-expert-tips-creating-winning-book-cover-30108/_br

She gives 5 steps to Creating the Perfect Book Cover

  1. Capture the Readers Attention
  2. Evoke Emotion
  3. Hint at the Story without Being Cluttered
  4. Be Visually Pleasing
  5. Be Simple

Here’s a link to her Book Cover Creating Page

When I did a search of Boys Will Be Boys—The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys, this ISBN Directory came up. I liked the looks of it, so I’m sharing it.  Perhaps your book will come up that way too.

Boys Will Be Boys-The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys – Buy … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://isbn.directory/book/9781499728859_br

Fascinating, funny, and fabulous stories furnish an insight into raising and caring for boys. There are photos, poems, Aesop’s Fables, a bit of scripture and many tips from parents who have shared some of the best and worse times they have experienced while touching the lives of many young men. All twelve authors have brought a different perspective about their contact with boys, some as parents, some as aunts or uncles, some as teachers, some as sisters and brothers, some as nieces and nephews, and some as daughters and sons. This will be a book you will want to turn to over and again for guidance, inspiration, and laughs.

Boys Will Be Boys-The Joy and Terrors of Raising Boys 



I used a couple of editing tools to get this cover ready. When I got my first proof, the photos were all blurry. A friend Sue Brown, who is also a photographer from West Virginia, said that every time you touch a photo you lose quality. Doesn’t matter if you are resizing it, or reshaping it, or putting a border around it—the less you mess with the original, the better the quality. She was right. Here’s a link to the Facebook page of SJ Brown. Check out some of her photos.


I am very proud of the cover for this book. On the front, I tried to post a photo from each author, and I loved the photos of the 12 Authors. The back cover features(I have put links to their facebook pages in case you’d like to check out more from them) Steve Scott, Del Grogg, Gloria Alden, Dreama Pitt, Theresa Jenner Garrido, Dusty Wallace, Mike Staton, Cher’ley Grogg, Misty Montega, Linda McKeel Scott, Maxwell Taylor, and to round it off Frank Lanerd. Each story told in the Author’s voice, and each author has their chapter with photos and bios.

I had to find the perfect background to begin the cover. My sister-in-law Carol Dicken had taken a beautiful photograph of a rainbow. The colors worked perfectly and gave me a place to start. Then you have to make sure you’re working the background in the right size, to fit the cover space. With me, it took a lot of trial and error, but with more talented people, it would have taken less time and effort, I’m sure.

The font and the color of the font are also crucial. A lot of covers use yellow, and I did in The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk, but on Boys Will Be Boys—The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys, the red stood out.

I ran the Cover of the Boys are stupid... book.cover by all the Contributors and ended up with this cover. So do you like this cover?

I thought this was a cute cover. Got my attention.





**Have you tried to create your own covers? Do you have someone who does your covers? Do you judge a book by its cover?**


Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. 

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3


Boys Will Be Boys   

The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Making an Anthology, Snip-Snip and Paste-Paste by Cher’ley


 This blog by Cher’ley  Grogg

English: a free transform fractal made with ph...


Cutting and pasting isn’t what it used to be, now it’s copying and pasting, but it’s still not easy. I find that it is both frustrating and    calming at the same time.


Boys will be Boys—The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys is almost done. Just working on the cover and some formatting issues. The inside has been edited and put together very nicely.  I’m designing the cover, and I sure hope the other 11 authors will love it. I never knew how much pressure would go into the making of an Anthology. I worry about pleasing everyone and of course I want to highlight each person. I think 12 is the perfect number of Authors. Two of them are our very own Writing Wranglers and Warriors, if you count me, then there are three. Frank and Mike both wrote some great stories and poems.

Each chapter begins with a little clip about my son during his 1st 12 years of  life. This is from chapter 10:

Cover baby 10    When Tommy was ten years old, he soaked us all. We were at church, and they had a baptism service. It was so cold in the room       where the service was being performed that the ice had to be broken on the tub. The preacher said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. He then dunked Tommy under the water. When he rose he spewed water from his mouth like a fountain and then shook like a dog. So the people who didn’t get hit by the spray got soaked by the shake. Cher’ley


The chapters end with a Fable and Thoughts from Parents. These thoughts were collected from different parents and then copied and pasted into the right age group. Here’s an excerpt.

Thoughts from Parents

  1. Puberty starts anywhere from 9-14 and many changes take place.
  2. Let your son know that some people will think that he sounds like his mom when he answers the phone. His voice will go up, down, high, and low before it settles into the voice he will have as and an older boy.
  3. A boy will look at his armpits every day to see if he has at least one hair. It will be a day worthy of celebration when he discovers that hair.
  4. Super-sensitive area, down yonder has a lot of nerve endings — which make it extra-sensitive — so if a soccer ball accidentally whams into a boy in that spot; it really hurts. The good news is that these injuries are not usually serious, though a boy will usually feel pain and even could be nauseated for a while. But always use caution.
  5. Schools and doctors try to teach boys the correct words for their private parts, but it’s doubtful that they will use those words, so be ready for the slang words.
  6. If there isn’t a man in the house, let your son know that Mom’s know about men parts, or supply someone for him to talk to like a grandfather, uncle, or doctor. Boys have a lot of questions during the big changes their bodies go through. You could also go to the library together and look up his questions and then discuss them.
  7. Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20 NLT

This is so much different than the way things used to be done. I used to create newsletters for our church and it tookExamples of computer clip art. (Source: Open C...                 a lot of  cutting and pasting. Then there were tricks you learned like using tape around the edges of a cut clip art to                                  avoid  the shadows. I still have a  lot of rub on fancy letters (you had to use a tongue depressor or something like that to rub the letters onto the paper) and other kinds of stamps and stickers. I think I even still have some giant clip art books. Time to clean the file cabinets. *Smile*. I also have a zillion different kinds of pens and fancy papers, which I probably will never use again, but I can’t part with them.

After I put all the photos on the cover for the Anthology, I resized it sixteen times, before it was the proper size for the cover.


How about you? Has you creations changed a lot over the years? Do you still horde all your ink pens and fancy papers?

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores.

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time   and the B&W Edition of The Journey BackThe JourneyBack 3

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE




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Unexpected Consequences by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1When my first book came out (I am working on the sequel) several experienced authors advised me to start a blog. Over and over I heard how it would help readers find my book and get to know my writing style, which would increase sales and establish myself as an author. Despite these truths I resisted, occasionally writing a guest blog but not starting one of my own. I found myself intimidated by the demands of a blog, the pressure to be witty, intelligent, entertaining, and informative on a scheduled and frequent basis.

Fortunately I found a blogging home with this group of talented writers who consistently impress and amaze me. I’ve been with Writing Wranglers https://writingwranglersandwarriors.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/5a56d-6a0133f3fc5805970b019104234e97970c-pi.jpgand Warriors for about ten months and am enjoying this group and the blogging experience. The twice-a-month commitment is manageable and I find the shared responsibility for the content has allowed me greater freedom in my topic choices. I am not concerned about what I think I “should” write, instead blogging about interests me at any given deadline.

Another activity I have strenuously resisted is writing short stories. I rarely read them and have not been interested in working within this restrictive structure. No, short story writing is not for me.

Until this fall, when Mystery and Horror, LLC put out a call for short, traditional mystery stories set at Halloween. No, I said, I don’t write short stories. A week or so later, I thought, “I don’t write short stories but if I did I would set it…” Within the month I finished The Carver my first short story as a professional writer and was thrilled when it was accepted for the “All Hallows Evil” anthology. I have recently submitted a second short story to a different group for consideration for their anthology and am mulling over some new calls for submissions by Mystery and Horror, LLC.

https://writingwranglersandwarriors.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/b74ab-6a00d8341c03bb53ef019b024e1124970c-pi.jpgDespite my reluctance to blog and write short stories, I now find I enjoy the brevity and resulting challenges of these formats. More important, they have had an unexpected consequence: I have become a better writer.

The requirement of writing within a word count range has forced me to examine my writing style and I learned that I have a habit of “chattiness” that can’t survive in a blog or short story environment. Each word must have value and meaning or it is deleted. Every sentence is tied to the plot or theme or it is unnecessary. Descriptions are tight and focused, helping the reader “see” the character or place with no frills or embellishments.

While this sparse writing technique is not appropriate for my writing style with my novels, I find myself choosing my words with more care, especially in tense or dramatic scenes. I now notice what I call “word clutter” and find my novel is better when I eliminate it. My writing was always good, at least I think it was, but now it is cleaner, stronger. Others may not notice but I do and see is as a mark of my growth as a writer.

The sense of “necessity” to blog started me down a path I continue to travel. It led me to the experiment of drafting short stories and the insights that allowed for improvement in all of my writing endeavors. I look forward to discovering where else it will take me.

Where has blogging taken you?

You can learn more about me at:






Farwell-Shadowlands-Final Cover.inddAHE New Cover

A Second Look Behind Our Eyes by Abbie

Abbie TaylorThis post by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Behind Our Eyes is a group of writers with disabilities with whom I’ve been involved for years. In 2006 after my late husband Bill suffered his first stroke and while he was recuperating in a nursing home, I heard about this group through a magazine for people like me who are visually impaired or blind. Needing a diversion, I joined the group. To make a long story short, since then, we have published two anthologies and started an online magazine, Magnets and Ladders, and I’m now the organization’s president.

Our members are scattered across the country, and some live overseas. Most of us are blind or visually impaired, but some suffer from hearing loss and other challenges, and one has chemical sensitivity disorder. We meet twice a month via phone conference where we either share what we’ve written or have guest speakers on a variety of writing topics.

Our first anthology, simply called Behind Our Eyes, was published in 2007. This collection contains stories, poems, and essays by our members and should still be available from Amazon. It can also be downloaded in specialized formats for the print disabled from the National Library Service and Bookshare.

Several years later, we started Magnets and Ladders which contains more of the same plus articles on writing, contests, and advertisements of writing related products and services. It is published twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Submissions by all disabled authors are welcome. Deadlines are February 15th and August 15th.

Our second anthology, Behind Our Eyes: A Second Look, has recently been released. View a book trailer to learn more about it. If you’re visually impaired or otherwise have trouble seeing what’s on the screen, you can click on the About button on the video’s page to read a detailed description of the images. It can be purchased from Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. For those of us with difficulty reading printed material, it is also available on Bookshare. This book would make a great gift for anyone on your Christmas list this year.

Here’s one of my poems.

This poem appears in the winter
2012 issue of Sensations Magazine.

Where I Came From

I came from the city they say never sleeps,
a town in Colorado I barely recall,
the heat of Arizona that seeps into your bones,
a place where blind children learned the three R’s,
a neighborhood where children rode bikes, played games,
the green grass and trees, rolling hills of Wyoming,
college campuses full of activity,
a summer in Kansas when I was glad to get home,
a North Dakota winter so brutal, so cold,
another town in Colorado where I might have been happy,
a blue Wyoming sky–this is where I’ll stay.

Where do you come from? 

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of:

We ShaFront Book Cover - We Shall Overcomell Overcome


Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


Visit my blog.