Old West Entertainers

Post by Doris McCraw


I love entertainment; movies, plays, opera, and symphony along with so many other forms. One thing I always stop and read when I’m researching is the entertainment that those in the 1800s enjoyed. Since I’ve been in the ‘stacks’ lately researching an outlaw for an upcoming presentation and paper, I thought I’d share some ‘lighter’ news.

Many think of the Old West as cowboys, outlaws, and generally an overall free for all. That was not always the case. There were many a traveling company who were available and put on many shows across the Western states. You also individual entertainers who ‘rode the circuit’.

In Colorado Springs in 1881, the town was treated to a presentation of Camille.  You can follow the link to the ‘review’ of the event. camille in colorado springs 1881

How about the “Old Time Medicine Show”? Back Stage with a Medicine Show Fifty Years Ago by William P Burt is an article from the Colorado Magazine from July 1942. If you would like to read the article, and I suggest you do, follow this link: http://www.historycolorado.org/sites/default/files/files/Researchers/ColoradoMagazine_v19n4_July1942.pdf

Back then, there was no television, radio let alone computers and streaming. Many people found ways to entertain themselves with dances, musical recitals. If you look at the city directories of the day, you would find a number of musicians and actors offering their services as teachers. I suppose dreams of making it were just a valid back then as now.

You had people like Lilly Langtree, Sarah Bernhardt, Eddie Foy, Blind Tom, Lotta Crabtree and many a traveling theater companies. Of course there were the Booth’s, one of whom became famous for his actions as opposed to his talents, which from reviews of the day were considerable.

So the next time you turn on the television, radio or listen to your device, remember the ‘entertainers’ who became famous in the early day. Maybe even check out your own newspapers to find out who entertained folks back in the day. You may be surprised.

And to book release news, I’ve a story in the newly released Medieval anthology “One Yuletide Knight” from Prairie Rose Publications.

One Yuletide Knight by [Macgillivray, Deborah , Townsend, Lindsay, Breeding, Cynthia, Raines, Angela, Kincaid, Keena, Sherry-Crews, Patti, Wells, Beverly, Thompson, Dawn]
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


Fun In The Big City


This post is by Joe Stephens


I’ve been in Louisville, Kentucky since last Thursday doing the AP Reading. What that is, in a nutshell, is a couple thousand English teachers and professors from all over the country gather in one place to read and score 1.2 million essays that were written in May by high school students on the AP (Advanced Placement) English Literature and Composition Exam. The good news that the 1.2 million is the total, not how many we each had to read. We were divided into three rooms with each room responsible for reading one of the three essays. My room read the prose essay. I scored 1508 essays from Friday until today (yesterday when this goes live). I say I scored and not read, I mean that, well, not all the kids wrote all the essays. But that’s another story. Even the essays in general is another story. What I want to write about is all the stuff that you can do for fun in Louisville.

20160613_205656First of all, the part of Louisville I saw is mostly what’s called the Central Business District, or downtown. The city is huge, with a metro area totalling over 1 million people. So what I saw and did is miniscule compared to the entire city. But even in our little corner tucked against the Ohio River (which seems really WIDE compared to the part that flows past my town of Parkersburg, WV), there’s so much to do that you just can’t get to it all, especially when you only have a few evenings free to do stuff. So if you want to visit, plan for plenty of time. There are even theme parks here, but I won’t be talking about that.

First of all, anyone who’s been to one will tell you that AAA baseball games are the best 20160613_191845entertainment bargain around. My friends and I went to a Louisville Bats game and the tickets were $10. Yes, drinks and refreshments were as expensive as at a movie theater, but if you plan your trip right, you can get there on a promotion night. We missed dollar hot dogs and soft drink night by one day, but they have them regularly. Almost every night there’s some kind of discount or giveaway. And even if you don’t like baseball, go. The park is amazing and there’s some sort of goofy entertainment between every inning. We had a blast and we barely even paid attention to the game.

20160615_174136If you’re not into sports, there are tons of other things to do, including museums, theater productions (Louisville is the unofficial Boston of the South, with many future Broadway hits having their final tune-up productions taking place here for a fraction of the cost as on the Great White Way.), big-name concerts, and even crazy activities like the world’s largest underground zip-line. While you’re here, you really need to see the Muhammad Ali Center. It was simply fascinating. We happened to be there the week of his funeral, so it was even busier than normal, but we had no trouble seeing 20160609_142201everything.

Maybe the best part about Louisville is the food. Where we were, there seemed to be a great restaurant every fifty feet. One area, Fourth Street Live, in addition to being the location of many shows and events every week during the warm months, is completely lined with fantastic restaurants. If you can’t find something you like there, you don’t like food. And, if you’re into beverages of the adult type, Kentucky is the home of good ol’ Kentucky bourbon. But you can also find many varieties of craft-brewed beers and local wines if you’re looking for something a little milder.

So if you have some time on your hands and are looking for a fun place to go, Louisville, Kentucky should be on your short list.


sunrise cover option 7



Joe’s newest book, Dawn of Grace, just debuted on June 9. It’s available on Amazon.



ITS Cover ArtCheck out his third book, In The Shadow on Amazon

kindle cover

Take a look at his debut book, Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at his second book, Kisses and Lies on Amazon


Every kind you can think of!

12Feb2014This post is by Nancy Jardine.

If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that this Wranglers blog is contributed to by lots of different authors/writers who have their own writing preferences. We have poets like Doris McCraw who loves to work in a tight rhythm of 5/7/5 Haiku style. The poem below is a perfect example. http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/sleep.html?spref=fb

We have other authors who write novels and short stories like Mike Staton who posts Sci-Fi stories to his Facebook Page. His story about Florina, is a great example of encapsulating what’s needed for a punchy short-short story. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Staton/257163720993943

Jennifer Flatten regularly entertains us with family related updates, which are a great way for me to compare the differences in living in Scotland and Wisconsin, and she makes fabulous jewellery when not blog writing!

ED int book festSome of us, like Gayle Irwin, love to go visiting to do author talks and write articles for magazines and journals. https://www.facebook.com/gayle.irwin.12?fref=ts

I would love to go on about all of the lovely Wrangler contributors but the page isn’t long enough to do them justice. Suffice to say, we are a diverse bunch all linked by WORDS.

WORDS are our business, and words are also the business of THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL.

Many people might say – what’s that?

The photo above was taken in 2013 and you can see the relaxed atmosphere that many folks are enjoying at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

( photo http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edinburgh_International_Book_Festival,_2013.JPG?uselang=en-gb)

I’m told, as a Scot, that if the word EDINBURGH is uttered, many people immediately think of The Edinburgh Festival. The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe Festival is the largest Arts festival in the world and celebrates the visual arts in as many ways as you can imagine. The city of Edinburgh (population approximately 480,000) is hosting around 3000 different Fringe shows this year. https://www.edfringe.com/

Dscn4164Many of these Fringe shows are street entertainers and those who entertain in out of city centre small venues with small audiences. They range from stilt-walkers, one-man comedy shows, plays, musicians of all music genres, monologues, acrobats, jugglers… the list is endless. Exhibitions of multi-media artwork are dotted around the city as well. There are many more expensive events at the Official Festival shows which are held in the largest auditoriums and theatres- though what’s on offer is also a diverse programme of events. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the most famous of these larger events which is held in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle- behind the walls in the photo above. None of those events can take place without a high degree of organisation and that involves a lot of WORDS.

However, what many people world-wide may not know is that concurrently there is also THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL.

The first Edinburgh Book Festival took place in 1983. At first, it was intended to run every other year but, by 1997, it became a yearly event. From the first simple tent in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, (Charlotte Square seen in the top photo) it’s now a very impressive fixture – even though a temporary one each year and still under canvas of sorts. Today, the Book Festival is housed in a specially created tented village in Charlotte Square Gardens, in central Edinburgh.

Running for the last 3 weeks of August ( this year from 9-25th August) the Edinburgh International Book Festival runs concurrently with The Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe. You can well imagine that the city of Edinburgh is abuzz in August with visitors flocking to many of these different venues. Accommodation in the city is impossible to find, unless booked well in advance – like last August 2013!

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has more than 700 events listed for adults and children this year. People can take part in workshops, attend debates, listen to book readings, and can share in the ‘hot topics’ in writing on a one-to-one basis with well known worldwide authors. I can’t do justice to the plethora of events that have been organised in this post, but if you pop over to the official site below, you can experience a lot on line for yourself. Join in with interactive audio performances, listen to podcasts, watch video footage etc.    https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

20 bks CC

The FESTIVAL BOOKSHOP has a wonderful range of books for sale, FICTION AND NON-FICTION – all proceeds from these being ploughed back into the non-profit making fund which has been set up to run the festivals in future years. It’s therefore important to sell those paperback and hardback books every year,  and I’m totally proud to say that Book 1 of my Celtic Fervour Series- THE BELTANE CHOICE – is on the CROOKED CAT PUBLISHING stand! It’s one of 20 books they have chosen to represent Crooked Cat Publishing.

Can you spot it?

For more information on the range of novels my publisher produces click these links.



If you’re reading this blog at some distance from Edinburgh- don’t worry – you can click the link below, by a copy on line, and see why The Beltane Choice  on the Crooked Cat Stand.

I’m now itching for next Saturday the 23rd August to come because I’m going down to Edinburgh to see what all the fuss is about!

I’d love to know if anyone reading this post has heard of the Festivals going on in Edinbrugh just now…

Have a great reading weekend!

Nancy Jardine’s Novels

New TBC x 375http://amzn.to/16Xifgn

Branson Visit

by Travis Richardson


Today I am writing a quick and dirty post from Portland, Oregon, as I have been traveling over the past two weekends, and will do so for the next three. A weird convergence of a reunion, weddings and concerts has strung five events in a row.

Last week I was in Branson Missouri for a family reunion. For those that have not been, the location has become a vacation retreat for folks living in nearby Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri. It features good wholesome family entertainment ranging from go-cart rides and mini-golf, tons of dining and shopping venues, live music and entertainment, and theme parks. Branson celebrates their regional identity and American pride. Locals poke fun of their hillbilly origins and make jokes about cross state rivalries.

People were friendly and open, but became self-conscious whenever my wife or I mentioned we were from Los Angeles. We were asked more than once what we were doing there, as if we ended up there by some crazy mistake. The local pride that I had seen was replaced with an unnecessary humility. I swear I didn’t have a haughty, evil laugh after saying Los Angeles. Really. While it’s true that Branson is not Las Vegas and Silver Dollar City isn’t Disneyland, we weren’t looking for that. We wanted Branson to be… well Branson. If anything, I was sad that Branson seems to be losing some local flavor as many shows featuring retired music legends and local musicians have been replaced with shows like ABBA and Beatles impersonators.

The overall mood is welcoming as families are there looking for fun. For the most part, I didn’t encounter much political talk, which is good because the toxic, divisive nature of politics has ripped the country apart and keeps Americans separated from each other. Although somebody hung a sign at a busy intersection with the phrase: “God bless veterans and gun-toting Americans,” because you know, those without guns don’t deserve a blessing from God.

So if you’re in the Ozarks and want to have some fun with your family, I’d encourage y’all to stop there. They’ve got a little something for everyone, and it’s still a unique piece of Americana.

Any unique vacations that you’re taking this year?

Travis Richardson is fortunate enough to be nominated for both Anthony and Macavityawards for his short story “Incident on the 405” in MALFEASANCE OCCASIONAL: GIRL TROUBLE. His novella LOST IN CLOVER was listed in Spinetingler Magazine’s Best Crime Fiction of 2012. He has published stories in several online zines as well as the anthologies SCOUNDRELS: TALES OF GREED, MURDER AND FINANCIAL CRIMES  andALL DUE RESPECT ISSUE #1. He edits the Sisters-In-Crime Los Angeles newsletter, reviews Chekhov short stories daily at www.chekhovshorts.com and sometimes shoots a short movie. His latest novella, KEEPING THE RECORD, concerns a disgraced baseball player who will do anything to keep his tainted home run record. Find out more at www.tsrichardson.com