Thursday, September 30, 2010

Westward Ho The Writers!

Modern ranchers
  No, this blog is not about wagon trains and cowboys. Sweethearts of the West is about romance and adventures set under western skies. It’s true that some of us write about the hardships of the Old West and the pioneers who settled here. Sweethearts of the West authors also write about 2010’s modern pioneers—powerful business executives, hairdressers, ranchers, newspaper reporters, FBI agents, detectives, and other characters that promise a wonderful reading experience. Our authors range from multi-award winners to newly published. Some of our books are funny, some suspenseful, and some tearjerkers, but they are all well-written novels which will pull you into their stories! They deal with our need to discover a fulfilling life, the very need that sent our ancestors heading West.

As one who writes both contemporary and historical romance, both sweet and sensual, I love the western spirit and all my books are set here. In fact, all my books take place in Texas. How great to look out at the horizon and not see buildings, but rolling prairie up to the mountains. I adore the West’s tall skies, open fields and woods near large cities, and the spirit that inhabits our people. Of course, I also like people East of the Mississippi. They include many relatives and good friends. Some of America’s most beautiful landscapes are there, too. In the three years we lived in central Florida, my Hero and I made many wonderful friends. Ah, but I confess my heart belongs under a tall western sky.
Utah Mountains' Purple Majesty
Check out each of our authors and our books. Our photos and links are on the sidebar. Our current books are on the slide show. We have intriguing events planned, theme months, guests, and more to keep you returning.

Please comment here often to let us know how you feel about our articles and our authors, and sign up as a follower on our sidebar. We respect our readers and hope to provide the best reads of your life!

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Greetings and Welcome to Sweethearts of the West blog.
Caroline said it all, thank goodness, because I could not have done so well. She approached me about this group venture, and I readily joined up. For a long time, I’ve wished for a group blog consisting of authors who loved the West and wrote about it, too.
Couple on horseback
Somehow, I became her co-moderator, probably because I have that urge to take charge. I really shouldn’t do that, because in some cases—this one, for example—someone else just might know more than I! And Caroline and her sweet, gracious, patient husband have done a smashing job with the appearance and format of the site. She and I believe we are cousins, at least we pretend so, because we’re from the same area and we think and work alike. I could not have asked for a better partner.
I know you’ll be thrilled with our authors—I certainly am! Even though each of us writes in a different way and may prefer one category to another, we have one cohesive belief: we love to write about the west.
So, thank you for visiting. Leave a comment, be a Follower, anything…but most of all we hope you’ll return again and again to visit with the Sweethearts.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
New Releases
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coming Soon To This Blog!

Launch Date for Sweethearts of the West is October 1, 2010! Come back to visit with fourteen authors whose romances are set under Western skies.
Fun posts, theme months, something to interest all romance readers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Camels in the United States West

Only known surviving photo of
the U.S. Camel Corp
Since I live in, write about, and love Texas, you won’t be surprised to learn that today’s post involves Texas history. If you saw the movie years ago called "Hawmps!" then you already know that the U.S. Government experimented with the effectiveness of camels in the desert West. Although the movie is listed under "turkeys" in the movie guide, my family liked it. Yes, our tastes run to lighter, less serious subjects with happy endings. The movie was even loosely based on fact.

In 1855, the U.S. Congress, at the urging of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, authorized the importation of camels and dromedaries to be used for military purposes and earmarked thirty thousand dollars for the experiment. Davis, a veteran of the war with Mexico, had seen considerable service in the Desert Southwest. Keenly aware of the role that camels had played over the centuries in the warfare of other nations, he believed that the strange beasts could be put to use in the United States as well.

Major Henry C. Wayne and Lieutenant David D. Porter departed for North Africa, where they were met by a third American, Gwinn Harris Heap, whose father had been the U.S. consul to Tunis for a number of years. They acquired thirty-three camels before departing for home in February 1856.

Camels and Dromedaries
were imported

The ocean voyage from the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar, and across the Atlantic was  uneventful considering the fragile cargo. On May 14, 1856, the camels came ashore at Indianola, Texas. Ten acres of land had been set aside for them and a two-hundred-foot-long shed had been built to house them. Major Wayne decided first to acclimate the camels to the intense humidity of the Gulf Coast by letting them rest in a large corral.

Writing to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, Navy Lieutenant Porter said, "We have lost on the voyage but one of those we purchased…and she died from no want of care, but because she was unable to produce her young one…We still have more than we started with, some young ones having been born on the passage, and are in fine condition. All the other camels I am happy to say have not received a scratch…They are looking a little shabby just now, most of them shedding their hair…but they are fat and in good health.

Three weeks later, the animals began first leg of the trip that would take them to San Antonio, Texas, on to El Paso, Albuquerque, and across the arid Southwest all the way to Fort Tejon, California. The camels performed extremely well. Capable of carrying loads of up to twelve hundred pounds—larger than a horse or mule could carry—the beasts lumbered along at a slow but steady pace.
The geat camel experiment eventually failed. With the advent of the Civil War, the personnel at Union garrisons in the Southwest scattered before the advancing Confederates. Some of the imported animals were set free and some were kept in captivity.

Hajid Ali's monument
A monument in Quartzite, Arizona pays tribute to chief camel driver, Hajid Ali, called Hi Jolly. After the camel experiment failed, he used some of the released camels to conduct a freight business. Later he married and worked in Quartzite. The monuement is at his last campsite. At his death, he believed small families of camels still roamed in remote areas of the Southwest.

The last known camel corp survivor died in a Los Angeles zoo in 1934. However, even today people occasionally tell tales of seeing lone camels in remote corners of the Southwest.

Note: Portions of this info was gleaned from an article in the book IT HAPPENED IN TEXAS, by James A. Crutchfield, 1996,Two Dot Press, Helena, Montana.

Caroline Clemmons is the author of historical and contemporary books set in the Southwest.