Background Research Fun: Marketing Via Sensory Input

By N. M. Cedeño





Did you ever go into a grocery store and smell cooking bacon as you passed by the area where bacon was for sale? Or step into the baked goods sections and inhale the aroma of baking bread? Did you know that many grocery stores purposely “pipe in” those scents in the hopes of making you buy more than you need? Why would they do that? Because it works.

Fun fact: a research study found that the scent of baking in a grocery store increased the sale of baked goods three-fold. Certain food scents have been shown to not only cause people to overeat, but also to over-shop. Those employees cooking and handing out samples in the aisles of the grocery store are doing their job even if you don’t taste a sample. Just the smell of food cooking is enough to inspire people to buy more food.

Some of my favorite scents, picture by N. M. Cedeno

Scientists have discovered that the sense of smell has a strong impact on memory, consequently certain smells can evoke certain memories and emotions. The “Proustian memory effect” explains how childhood memories linked to scents last a lifetime. So when you walk into an apartment complex lobby and smell cookies baking, and suddenly feel safe, comfortable, and at home, there’s a reason for that. Similarly, real estate agents recommend staging a house for sale with the scent of cinnamon in the air.

But scent isn’t the only way that businesses try to manipulate people into buying, renting, or choosing a service. Sound plays a part as well. From the gentle sound of flowing water in a fountain at a spa or massage clinic to the music selected to play in a store, the sounds you hear in a business are frequently selected to set a particular mood or inspire a particular emotion. Researchers have even done studies to try and find the right combination of scent and music to increase impulse buying in stores.

Innumerable tricks are used to appeal visually to consumers, and not just in the advertisements, product arrangement, and signage. How about that fish tank in your dentist’s office? It’s there because many people find watching fish swim to be relaxing, helping ease the anxiety of patients awaiting procedures and making them more comfortable while they wait. Colors used in décor can be used to make a business seem more cheerful or calm or serious. A particular shade of pink paint has been used in jails for years because it is thought to reduce aggressive behaviors, although the research is inconclusive. Casinos have long applied methods of using décor and layout to manipulate people into gambling more.

Many businesses set out to create an atmosphere to send certain messages. Banks want to project security, professionalism, and respectability. Spas want to create an atmosphere of relaxation. Expensive car dealerships and casinos want create an atmosphere of wealth and luxury and to inspire risk-taking and impulsiveness in customers. Grocery stores want people hungry to buy more food. Upscale boutiques want to project a feeling of exclusivity. All of these places are going to try to send those messages via the sensory input that the customers receive as they approach and walk into the business. Savvy businesses will appeal to as many of your senses as they can.

So, the next time you walk into a business, pause and let your senses take in your surroundings. What do you smell? What colors do you see? What emotions are the scents and color scheme inspiring? Listen to the music. Is it upbeat? Or calming? Are there other sounds in the background that might have been selected to set the mood? How about the lighting? Is it soft or bright? What sensory input has been added to “enhance” your experience? Is the business trying to manipulate you into impulse buying or buying more than you need? Or are they simply trying to get you to relax before your regular dental exam or massage therapy? Not all sensory-based manipulation is bad, but an awareness of it can be very useful.

This blog contains some of the fascinating background research I came across for my Bad Vibes Removal Services series. In the series, the Bad Vibes Removal Services business has a list of available services that includes an emotional atmosphere interior redesign. Some of that redesign involves using the techniques discussed above. Because the books are fictional, paranormal mysteries, the Bad Vibes company services also include cleansing the built-up negative emotional energy from spaces and getting rid of ghosts.



N. M. Cedeño writes short stories and novels that are typically set in Texas. Her stories vary from traditional mystery, to science fiction, to paranormal mystery in genre. Her debut novel, All in Her Head, was published in 2014, followed by her second novel, For the Children’s Sake, in 2015. In 2016, For the Children’s Sake was selected as a finalist for the East Texas Writers Guild Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller category. Most recently, she has begun writing the Bad Vibes Removal Services Series which includes short stories and the novel The Walls Can Talk (2017). Visit her at



Time is on My Side, Yes it Is by Cher’ley

This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Q: What did the second hand say to the hour hand as it passed by?
A:  See you again in a minute.

Q: What do you call a story that one clock tells to another?
A: Second-hand information.

Time is on My Side, Yes it Is:

Time is on my side, yes it is.
Time is on my side, yes it is.
Now you all were saying that you want to be free
But you’ll come runnin’ back (I said you would baby),…

Time is on my side. Or is it? Is time on my side or your side, while on the truck, it seems that I am constantly fighting against time. It’s time to drive (11 hours), then it’s time to sleep (5-8 hours), then it’s time to eat (2 hours).  That’s 21 hours, so I have 3 hours to shower, clean the truck, relax, exercise, dance, or create.  Time is not on my side.

Related imageWhen I’m at home I have a little more time to do what I want, but that is usually going to my various classes or clubs, and swimming. I am still sorting out my collections or hoardings that we talked about in a previous blog. Also, I have family and friends there that I really must visit with before heading back to work.


My shortest book, Four Moons and Fair Maidens still took a lot of timeFour Moons and Fair Maidens to get the rhythm just right. Westerns more than other books have a rhythm of their own, and it is historical so that means a lot of research.  All the facts have to be exact because if they are not someone will notice.

Research, the fun and time-consuming part of the book. Time is on my Side, yes it is—right!                      Four Moons and Fair Ladies

***How is your time?*** And speaking of time, 2 anthologies that are listed below are getting ready to go out of print so if you’d like to have a copy now is the time to get them. Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico–Pawprints on my Heart.  

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has 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 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And 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

It Happened On This Day

Post by Doris McCraw


It’s July 10, 2017 and do you know what happened on this day? I’ve always found these pieces of history fascinating. Maybe it’s the researcher in me, or maybe it’s just an insatiable desire to know. 

Whatever the reason, I did a bit of searching and guess what I found?

  • In 1821 the United States took possession of Florida which they had recently purchased from Spain.
  • In 1850  Millard Fillmore was sworn in as president, the day after Zachary Taylor died.
  • In 1890  Wyoming became the 44th state admitted to the Union.
  • In 1913  The temperature in Death Valley, California, hits 134 °F (57 °C), the highest temperature ever to be recorded on Earth.
  • In 1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins. John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act. This event became the basis of the play and later the film “Inherit the Wind”. It starred Spencer Tracy, Dick York, Gene Kelly along with other well-known actors.
  • In 1938  Howard Hughes set a new record by completing a 91-hour airplane flight around the world.

Like the Scopes Trial, pieces of history have the potential not only to help us understand where we came from, but it also gives us great prompts to tell our own stories. The events I listed are what fascinate me. Today is also the birthday of William Blackstone, know for writing the commentaries of law for England, and the basis for the teaching of law in England and North America. 

north cheyenne canyon 6-13-2012 070

I also would be remiss if I didn’t let you all know that Nikola Tesla was also born on this day. Since he had a laboratory here in Colorado Springs, he is a favorite for many who live here. His legend also brings visitors from all over the world. If you’ve never thought about him, the one thing he predicted was the use of cell phones, and that is just the beginning.

July 10 is also National Pina Colada day…so while you are catching up on the history of the day, sit back, relax and enjoy a Pina Colada. The Pina Colada Song – Escape 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -also writing as Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

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

Garage Sales

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

It’s late summer and one of the biggest events in our area during the summer months are garage sales. Bright colored poster board signs dot streets with arrows you hope will lead you to the right place. It’s more than frustrating to follow a garage sale sign that goes nowhere (probably from the week before and no one took the sign down.)

Garage sales can yield a plethora of things you need (or think you need) at low prices.file0001325059646 Sometimes I find just what I was looking for – but I didn’t need it and didn’t really know that I was looking for it.

A few of my finds have been really good though. Once I found a motorboat in good running shape. The seller was a woman whose husband had just left her and she sold everything she could just to get rid of it. I got the boat for $100; we used it two summers and sold it for $500. Another find was a pop-up camper in good shape. I had to dicker on that one, but finally took it home for $75. Again, we used it for a couple of summers and resold it for $250.

07933721d69f7ce3f06637a170afcaffWhen I lived in Florida I sold books. Since I love them so much, I would scour garage sales and used stores for what I thought would sell. I looked for old books, signed books, and any specialty books. (I once bought a Railroad Book for $.25 and sold it for almost $60!) I found a set of free 1950’s magazines at a sale that the seller gave me. The two went for $50. At the time I was making over $1,000 a month just perusing garage sales and selling my finds on eBay.

My favorite garage sales were in a large city in Michigan (my home state). I mapped out a route that usually yielded good finds. This was an old city and antiques were plentiful.   I bought lots of glassware that I had researched, enjoyed it for a while, and resold it for a big profit. I found some really great things there.

If you’re interested or think you might be interested in garage sales, I have a few tips for you.

  • Go early. Be on your route by 8:00 a.m. (The early bird gets the worm is true in thisfile2271249695010 case).
  • Before you leave, be sure you have plenty of cash, but set an amount that is reasonable and don’t go over it. I sale until I am out of money and then I have to stop, even though I might see lots more signs.
  • Check out estate sales. Although many times the items are priced a bit higher, it’s not always the case. I’ve purchased lovely linens for pennies that I use for my sewing.
  • Neighborhood sales are the best! Park the car and walk, if you can. I often leave items I’ve purchased with a sold sign and my name on it and when I’m through walking I go pick it up.
  • Research what you’re interested in. I looked for two years for a little Singer sewing machine that I wanted for quilting. I only found it because I asked the seller if she had anything like that. She went inside, brought it out, and I almost had a heart attack! It was in perfect condition. I’m really very good at bargaining and I got the machine for $40. I used it for my quilting classes until I moved to another state, and then sold the machine on eBay for $350. During the time I had the first one I found another at a flea market for $100. I sold that one for $325 the same week.
  • Wear comfortable shoes (sneakers are preferable), loose clothing including a jacket and umbrella in your car in case you need them. Wear a “belly” bag – like those you get as souvenirs at amusement parks. It’s easier to have both hands to work with.
  • Keep a couple of bottles of water and a protein bar in the car so you don’t have to stop.
  • You may think I only garage sale to resell but that’s not the case. I could go on and on about bargains I’ve purchased for hubby, myself, the kids or my dog. Like-new clothing, furniture for my house, art supplies, material (for sewing), a grill for the camper (for $10 – like new), a crate for the dog, a violin case for $1.00, a few musical instruments, etc. I could really go on and on but I’ll stop here.
  • I hope this post has been beneficial to you. My intent was to show that not only can you buy things for yourself at low prices, but you can also have a small business and have fun at the same time. I’ve given up the business part but I still enjoy scoping out sales for things I need. We just went through the campground on a Golf Cart ride and P1110873.JPGstopped to talk to some people we met in the hot tub. We’re looking for a 10’ x 20’ canopy that can be converted into a screen tent. This is for our deck so we have more coverage and things don’t get so wet. The screen will still allow us to see the lake, but we’ll be able to sit outside in the evening without being carried away by mosquitoes. I don’t know how the subject came up, but there was a frame to a canopy standing next to their camper and we mentioned we were looking for one. We already know the price of a new one and had actually planned to purchase one next weekend. It turns out that our campground is having rummage sale days next weekend, the canopy belongs to their mother, and she will sell it. We will definitely be at their camper at 7:00 a.m. to hopefully pick it up at least at half price – I’ll have my bargaining shoes on.

So, whatever your summers hold, you might want to check out a couple of garage or rummage sales to see what I’m talking about. I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Have a great time and good luck!


Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders




Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)




13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing




13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook




You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews






How to Tell if Your Slip is Showing!



propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

If you are a woman many of you have run into a problem with your slip showing below your hemline. Not only does it look unprofessional, when someone brings it to your attention

sundress-336590_640you are embarrassed. I’ve actually seen a woman standing near me whose half-slip fell right down to her feet. And then there’s the woman returning from the bathroom with her slip and skirt tucked into her pantyhose. Although it’s hard not to laugh you take pity on her and quickly tell her the problem (hey, it could have happened to you!).

Why am I writing a blog post about how to tell if your slip is showing? I am speaking of how it relates to writing. Your writing can slip if you are not careful. Slips of the tongue can make a sentence mean something entirely different than what you intended. Slips with characters names can throw your reader into confusion.

adult-18598_640Slips in the plot of the book can cause a reader to put the book down because he or she doesn’t like your writing style. If your location shifts and the reader has to make his way through the murky waters to find out what you mean, oops, another slip!

How to avoid your slip showing? Edit, edit, edit. Be sure you have read your book many times to catch problems. Have a group of proofreaders you trust give the book a read andtypewriter-801921_640 tell you of anything they catch and be open to changing it. It’ll only make the book better.

Since none of us want our slips to show, it’s only logical we pay very close attention to the plot, the protagonist, the location, and the overall feel of the book. Believe me, you’ll feel a lot better if your slip isn’t showing and you’ll gain readers because they like the professionalism and tune of the writing.

Make sure your slips fit!


My Books can be found on

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, The Fortune Teller

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an E-book

13 Extreme Tips to Publishing an E-book

Videos for both of the Inzared books can be found on You Tube

You can also find me here:

Amazon Author Page










Celebrating this week in (old) York- Roman style!

ccnancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

Happy 4th July to those who mark this as a very special day- a day for a declaration of independence.  If you’re doing something special with family or friends, my best wishes for a great get-together.

I won’t be having a celebration today, though I will be having a get-together with friends since I’m out selling my books with my FOCUS Craft group (FOCUS- Festival of Crafts Unique to Scotland). However, a special celebration for me will come next Tuesday.

I’ve recently been commenting a few times on this blog (in answer to other posts) that I’ve never yet managed to go to a huge author get-together or conference, though I am heading off next week on a round trip of approximately 700 miles to go to a Crooked Cat Publishing Seminar. I’ve been to fantastic Crooked Cat author get-togethers twice before but they were for purely social reasons. They were designed so that author friends and colleagues at Crooked Cat Publishing, who normally interacted via the internet and especially on Facebook, became ‘real’ colleagues. Those party events were great fun but this time it’s down to more ‘serious’ business. Crooked Cat authors who are attending will be enjoying a day long conference/ seminar. I’m hoping to learn a lot about marketing and how to make my books sell a whole lot better than at present. brainstorming cropped

Of course, we’re also going to be doing a bit of the ‘party’ thing after the seminar is over!

We’ll see how that all pans out after next week!

The venue for this seminar is also huge draw for me. The Edinburgh meeting in 2013 was followed by London in 2014, but this 2015 venue is York, England. I absolutely love to visit York. I have many favourite places and York is definitely one of them. It’s a city that’s very dear to my heart since its origins go back to Roman times and those readers of this blog who know me, know that I’m a bit obsessed with Roman Britain.

York MinsterI first visited the wonderful city of York around 1975 and came back loaded down with Brass Rubbings from the many fabulous ancient stones and tombstones. (I’m not sure if that kind of activity is still on offer since it can be incredibly damaging) Subsequent visits over the decades have seen me make return visits to the many tourist visitor centres but I also love to go to new attractions as well.

York is famous for its Roman Wall, which can still be walked along but it’s equally famous for its Viking and Medieval history. The Yorvik Centre (Viking York) has changed a little over the decades since its opening but the experience remains much the same. It’s one of those experiences where the tourist senses the sights, smells and yes almost a taste in the mouth sensation of Viking York. But York isn’t only about those time periods. A walk around York will give you an architectural experience that is indicative of all historical eras from Viking onwards to the twenty first century.

York Minster front wiki

York Minster is a fantastic church to visit, even for the non-religious like me. The majestic building is equally as impressive as many churches I’ve visited in mainland Europe – the history of its construction being a fantastic read. The present building was begun around 1230 but wasn’t completed till 1472. That’s a long time but standing beneath the facade you can see just how much it was worth it.

Every time I return, I try to take in whatever is new on Roman York. I wholeheartedly agree that many tourist attractions can trivialise real historical data but I like to separate my historical research from the theatrical attractions that are designed to encourage people to enjoy history more than they otherwise would. The best of the attractions have a neat blend of good sound historical facts presented in an entertaining way.

Some visitors may not like the Roman ghost tour/walk but I found it an enjoyable experience. I don’t get bored easily if a guide is telling me useful information- though some might if they really expect ‘spooks’ to appear.

On my Roman ghost tour what was most memorable was being down in some cellars, a few levels below street level, and being told that some visitors could sense ghost horses walking alongside them. Of course what they were purportedly seeing was only the upper halves of the beasts because down to the hoof level meant it was below the cobblestone floor of the cellar we were walking on. York is a city that has been successively built upon, layer after historical layer over the two thousand years of its occupation. I’m not a ‘seer’, nor do I feel I have any such sensitivity to ghosts, but I found I my imagination was sparked sufficiently for me to feel a definite frisson when we passed through that small stone cellar. (Of course, the October chill and slight fall of snow outside might have had something to do with that!)

Wikimedia Commons

When I wrote Book 2 of my Celtic Fervour SeriesAfter Whorl: Bran Reborn—I researched York back in Roman times of AD 71. Of course, there isn’t much data available since the Romans were only just invading the area around AD 71 or perhaps a little earlier, but at that time (AD 71)they built no permanent structures and left only traces of temporary encampments. My own walk along the Roman Wall was memorable but I couldn’t write about that because it wasn’t built till much later than AD 71.

What I had to do was imagine what the land around York was like back in AD 71 and describe my ‘view’ of what my characters—Brennus and Ineda—were seeing as they spied on the building of the first wooden Roman Fortress down by the River Ouse.

This link is to a post on my blog about Eboracum/ Roman York giving much more detail.

I’m hoping to come back from this visit with a barrow load of useful photos – but I only have the one full day of sightseeing on Wednesday, the seminar being on Thursday. I’m also looking foward to the train trip on Tuesday and the return on Friday, because once I’m on that train carriage I’ll be doing only reading – catching up with my always full kindle pile!

What are you doing to celebrate this weekend?

Nancy Jardine writes

Historical Romantic Adventures 20140903_083446 (1)

Final Nancy Jardine x 488Time Travel Adventures for Middle Grade/YA readers

Nancy Jardine Award Finalist The People's Book Prize 2014


Contemporary Mysteries.

Amazon US author page

Novels are also available from B & N; Smashwords and other major ebook stores.


About Me




Doris McCrawPost copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw


I thought I’d take a break from writing about individual women doctors and investigate a related topic, grooming the cat. If anyone has tried this exercise, you know it is filled with challenges, frustrations and maybe a bit of laughter. Okay a lot of laughter; after the scars have healed.

I can hear you saying, the cat grooms itself. Yes, they do, but sometimes they can use a bit of help. Just ask the cat owner who cleans up after a hairball has landed on the floor, bed cover or your shoes. Because the cat is used to grooming itself, they don’t like their owners manhandling them, unless of course you started when they were really young. How many people have done that?


Just like grooming a cat, anytime you try something new or challenging, there is that learning curve. The pain of getting scratched or worse, being disliked. Like the cat, you will get over it. No, you may not like it but once it’s done you do feel better.

When I started researching ‘my’ doctors, I ran into a lot of stuff, much of it did not even contribute to the overall information I was looking for. I had to clear the excess away and get to the basics. Even as I worked through the ‘women had a hard time’ scenario to get to the actual information, I found myself worrying about whether I would ever find the truth. I’m not saying women didn’t have a difficult time, but back then everyone had a difficult time compared to our lives. When we try to put our lifestyle against another it will always fall short of the other persons truth.  The fiction writer can get away with some of those comparisons, but for historians it can cause problems.


So as I groom my cat, and he starts purring, then wanting to play with the comb, I find pleasure in his response. As I groom away the excess in my research, I also find a great deal of pleasure. But lest you think that excess fur, and excess information are a total waste, you can use the excess to create something new. No, I don’t usually use cat fur, but it would be fun to glue onto something creative. The excess information I don’t use, well it can end up in a story. which is what I did with my latest short.  That titbit of information help me create Tom’s story, a follow up from my first novella, which will appear in an upcoming anthology.


So you see, even grooming the cat has rewards. Until next time, here is to your own joy in grooming your ‘cat’.

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

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

Author Page:

Photo and Poem:



Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw

I confess, but then you already know, I love research. If something catches my eye or ear, I want to follow up, know all I can. This, I believe keeps me young and involved with life. (I must be doing something correct. I met an acquaintance who hadn’t seen me for a while. Her comment, “You are the only person who looks younger everytime I see you.”)

It is common knowledge I research early Colorado women doctors. Their stories need to be told. But in addition to their personal stories, there is a need to place them in the context of the time they lived. The stories of the life around them.


In my novella “Home for His Heart” Sam was a child soldier in the Civil War. In order to understand the world he lived in, it was important I research child soldiers. Yes, there were young boys (and women) who served in the Civil War. Most were in the drum and fife corps.Their jobs were to signal the soldiers during battles, among other duties. For more information about these child soldiers, here is a link. The thought of the time, no one would harm the children. That turned out to be a dream.

Early Colorado Territorial Prison Building

In two current works that are in edits, it required research on the Colorado Prison System of the 1870’s, and Pueblo, Colorado from the same time period. There was some overlap, but each story required its own special research. To bring the characters and their stories to life, I try to walk the ground they would walk, whenever possible. This might mean a trip to an area I haven’t been before. Finding the stories of the region, learning what was happening. Yes, my characters are fictional, but their lives are based on facts, on truths, on real happenings.

Area near Pikes Peak

So as I continue to write both fiction and non-fiction, it is important that I immerse myself in the worlds I am writing about. This may mean trips to remote cemeteries to read the headstones of the people in that area. Reading old newspapers, taking the stories there and creating my fictional words from those words. The newspapers are also goldmines for the non-fiction. These are the worlds the doctors lived in. Even though train travel was fairly popular in the early 1870’s, the use of horses still was a major mode of travel. This along with the status of medical discoveries, plays a big role in the lives of the women doctors.

So if I seem a bit distracted at times, just know I’m immersed in some wonderful research. I promise to come up for air, and maybe share some of the stories. In the meantime, here’s to creating the stories we all were meant to share.

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

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

Author Page:
Photo and Poem:


Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw








I confess to having a love/hate relationship with resources. They are a blessing or a curse to your writing. As I make this journey of being a writer, the use of resources is a must. Writing fiction as Angela Raines, the use of old newspapers, books, and diaries, add that note of authenticity to the stories of the Old West that I write.Writing nonfiction, especially the story of the early women doctors in Colorado, using resources can be a great headache.

For fiction, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail”, by Sister Blandina Segale, 1850-1941, is a gem for events that occurred during the time of the western expansion as Sister Bandina makes her way alone from the mother house in Cincinnati, Ohio to Trinidad, Colorado and then onto  Santa Fe, New Mexico. Published in 1932, this wonderful book is composed of letters written by Sister Blandina to her sisters ‘The Sisters of Charity’ back east. A Google search of Images of Sister Blandina is quite fascinating.

Another great gem is “Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” by Sandra Dallas; Photographs by Kendal Atchison. Published in the 1980’s, it is a wealth of tidbits about the time in Colorado, from 1859-1920, when Colorado was the place to be to find gold and silver.

The remains of an old cabin at Dyersville, Colorado. Founded and named for ‘Father Dyer’ a traveling itinerant Methodist preacher.

To write the book on early Colorado women doctors before 1900 is another completely different challenge when it comes to resources. Books like “Medicine in the Old West: a History, 1850-1900” by Jeremy Agnew, published in 2010, offer glimpses of how medicine was used and viewed during the time, but talks little of women physicians except to say they had a difficult time. (Although he does speak of a woman physician in Pueblo, Colorado briefly.) Even the primary source I have on Colorado Women Doctors, “Women Physicians of Colorado”, by Mary De Mund, published in 1976 has errors due to the lack of resources when it was written. Some women doctors, who died before licensing in the state began, are harder to locate. Newspapers have been a good resource as has, but even those can be a minefield. If a woman married, or didn’t advertise, many times they just don’t want to be found. Male and female names that are similar or have changed use with the sex over the years, further complicates the search. Beverly is now a female name, but in the 1800’s it was strictly a male name. Emley B. Queal, while listed in the women physicians of Colorado is actually a male who graduated from Harvard, but was a physician.

Here in Colorado Springs, I have access to cemetery records and the headstones of those buried here. That makes finding these women easier. For those in the rest of the state, well let’s just say there will be many a day spent traveling and ‘camping’ out at local libraries and newspaper offices.  In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of ‘findings’ on these women you may find interesting.

Dr. Agnes Winzell is listed as graduating from the Nashville College of Eclectic Therapeutics in Indiana in 1897 and receiving her Colorado license, #2966, in 1899. However she shows up in the 1892 Seattle, Washington city directory as Mrs. Agnes Winzell, physician, 27 Douthitt Bldg.

Dr. Edith Root was the first woman to receive a Colorado license. In 1881, the first year Colorado started licensing physicians, Dr. Root applied and received her license #89. She was forty years old at that time. However she is listed in the 1878 Denver city directory as a physician, at 359 Larimer.

So you see, while research is quite fun, in fact I love it, it takes more than one source and many an hour reading unlikely books, newspapers and of course countless hours on the computer. No wonder I have this love/hate relationship with Cursed Recources. So until next time, see you in the research section.


home for his heart angela rainesHOME FOR HIS HEART
also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.


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

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Betrayal, conspiracy, addiction…oh my

CindyCarrollE I discovered something about my new book on my way to writing 50,000 words (I’m still behind on that) for National Novel Writing Month. It’s got a lot of stuff going on. For this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge I decided to write a new to me genre. Well, the new adult is new. The dystopian, not so much. I’d started a dystopian story before (still have to finish it) that also dealt with betrayal and government conspiracies. Hmmm. Is there a pattern there? Can you have a dystopian story that doesn’t include a government system that’s totally corrupt and not in the citizens’ best interests?

I was starting to write this month and realized, besides not having plotted out enough story, I hadn’t done any actual research for my book. I’m not into politics or government so creating a new government was difficult. Creating a corrupt government wasn’t so difficult. Power is addicting. The more you have, the more you want. I wrote a few notes down about the government system and hope that if I have at least a plausible explanation for how the government came to be the way it is, that will suffice. Did I mention that I need to work on my world building skills?

Then I encountered another problem. As I was writing a scene I was thinking about a few scenes in the future so I had to stop for a moment and research sweat. It will all make sense if you read the book. 🙂

At this point it will probably take me just as long to do the research as it will to write the book. So for now I’m putting notes in as I write -> (COMA RESEARCH HERE) and moving on. I have a list of topics I have to investigate so the novel will be filled with these little reminders.

What I didn’t have to research was betrayal. How it affects someone. How hard it is to trust after you’ve been betrayed. My main protagonist starts out starry-eyed and happy. Eager to do her civic duty. I kind of feel bad for her because I know all the pain, betrayal and danger she’ll find herself in later on. I normally don’t like to torture my characters but that makes for boring fiction. So I’m getting better at throwing a bunch of stuff at them and making them deal with it. Luckily for her she has three books to work out her issues.

I’ve got a play list for the trilogy on Spotify.

What do you think about research dumped into a story? For the dystopian novels out there do you care how the world got to be the way it is? Or do you just care about what’s happening to the characters now?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip goes wrong for a group of friends trying to help one of them get over a break up. They find an inn where the mirrors are cursed and they realize they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did.

A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. A mini vacation and support for Steve, recently dumped, have the friends travelling through small towns and back roads. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest. Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror.

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