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Western Word of the Week - Bulldogging - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Bulldogging - term for steer wrestling or, more accurately, wrestling a steer to the ground.

You can find a ton of videos on YouTube on how cowboys perform this both for ranching purposes and for rodeo-event purposes.

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Bug Juice - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Bug Juice - a colloquial term for whiskey

There are plenty of colorful, off-the-wall terms for whiskey including "base burner", "brave maker", "coffin varnish", "deadshot", "firewater", and more.

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Bodega - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Bodega - a Spanish term for a cheap saloon

Another term for cheap saloon was "bit house".

A "hog ranch" was both a saloon and a house of prostitution.

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Blacksmithing - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Blacksmithing - another name for pimping [or offering prostitutes' services for sale]

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Biscuit - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Biscuit - a colloquial term for the saddle horn

Other names for saddle horn include "apple", "handle", and "Lizzy".

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Bar Dog - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Bar Dog - a colloquial term for a bartender

Some interesting notes found in this book under "Saloons": while North American colonists had preferred rum, western cowboys preferred harder drinks like whiskey (or "bitters"). By the end of the 19th century, beer became more popular in the west with the availability of breweries.

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Bangtail - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Bangtail - colloquial term for a wild or untamed horse, such as a Mustang

Other names for untamed horses include "bronc", "bronco", and "broncho"

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Axle Grease - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Axle Grease - a humorous term for butter

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Air Tights - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...

Air Tights - another name for canned goods, especially canned beans (that are basically air tight).

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

Western Word of the Week - Aftosa - #WesternWordoftheWeek

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Thought I'd start something new and fun in between my research posts - Western Words of the Week (posted on Wednesday). Obviously I really like W-words!

The idea came to me while I was researching cowboys and I found a bunch of funny (and weird-sounding) colloquialisms and I couldn't figure out how I could fit them into my current WIP (work in progress), so I decided to share them with you instead. :-)

Aftosa - a cattle/goat/sheep disease also known as hoof-and-mouth or foot-and-mouth where the animal is inflicted with sores in the mouth and hooves.

Source:
The Cowboy Encyclopedia by Richard W Slatta; ISBN#0-87436-738-7

U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves - Celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth

Bass Reeves



US Marshal and Bounty Hunter in the Indian Territory of the 1870s/1880s (before it became the state Oklahoma)

He was born in 1838 into a slave family working for the Reeves family. During his youth, he was given special privilege to care for the Reeves' artillery and guns, which suggests he might possibly be the owner's illegitimate son. Working with guns, he became an excellent marksman.

At age 23, he was taken with his master to fight in the Civil War. At some point he fled into Indian Territory (the future Oklahoma) and lived among the different Indian tribes there, learning their customs and language. Outlaws and ex-rebels thrived in this area making it very lawless.

At Fort Smith, Judge Isaac Parker ("Hanging Judge") hired 200 marshals, including Reeves. Bass and Isaac had similar personalities, work ethics, and got along very well.

Bass often went undercover because criminals/white men could not believe a black man was a U.S. Marshal. He became talented at bounty hunting.

In 1884, Bass was arrested for accidentally shooting his hired cook while cleaning his gun (back in 1882). The testimony of one of his companion's wives vindicated him from hanging. Amazingly, he went right back to work afterwards.

In 1902, Bass's son, Benjamin, killed his unfaithful wife. No other marshal wanted to arrest and bring the young man in, so they gave the order to Bass, who convinced his son to come willingly. Judge Parker gave him life in prison instead of demanding his execution, which proved a blessing to the Reeves family, as the young man proved he was redeemed and eventually was pardoned. He became a barber in Muskogee.

Oklahoma becomes a state. Jim Crow laws go into affect stripping Bass of his U.S. Marshal badge. He came a police officer and patrolled in black areas.

In 1910, Bass died at age 72 and was buried in Muskogee. There's a 25 foot statue dedicated to him at Fort Smith.

Picture Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Reeves

Research from video, "Bounty Hunters of the Old West", 2006.

For Writers - How to Not Write a Bad Novel (or, How to Avoid Looking Like an Amateur Writer)

I found a romance novel in my bedside table drawer written by a woman who consistently receives good reviews (I found at least 10 novels by her on Amazon, all with 4+ stars). So I assumed this particular novel would be really good.
Well, the story line was pretty good/believable and there was plenty of conflict: Highland laird who distrusts women. English woman who needs protection.
So far so good. However, upon reading it I struggled through so many flaws (which screamed "amateur") that I decided to post this brief article in hopes of guiding other writers in not making these same horrendous mistakes, because now I've crossed this author's name off my shopping list. Keep in mind, I'm not an expert, but I am an avid reader with a big opinion.
  1. Extreme Head-Hopping POV - In some scenes, the POV flipped from head to head to head and back again. It becomes so confusing to keep up with whose head the reader is in when there are more than 2 characters in a scene. Plus it's just plain annoying.
  2. Going into Minor Character's Heads POV - Do I really care what the maid thinks if it's not that vital to the plot/story? All it does is distract.
  3. Dumping Research on the Reader - This particular author made the research sound like copy and paste from a reference book (for example, "In 1305 the river flooded"). It pulls the reader out of the story and frankly I rolled my eyes. Who talks like that?
  4. Having a Character Ask How Things Work - This book was full of these. The character would ask "How does that work?" so that the author can dump more research on the poor reader. Of course the facts are interesting but save those for your blog/website and not your novel. Another eye-roll.
  5. Using the Same "Big" Word or Phrase in the Same Paragraph - This shows a lack of editing skills IMO. If I read "bizarre" in one sentence and then it appears again in the next sentence (without a valid reason) then I'm going to assume you didn't spend enough time self-editing. Then I'm going to think the publisher was in too big a hurry to edit it either. The first time it happens, I can forgive. But in this particular book, it happened again and again, especially towards the end giving the impression they were rushing to finish the book.
  6. Unbelievable Solution to Conflict - In this book, the villain has been pursuing the heroine for ill reasons and is a violent, temperamental man. So it's extremely unbelievable that he would simply go away in the end without a fight because the hero uses the name "Robert the Bruce" to intimidate him.

I hope these little pointers will help your writing be stronger and not allow the reader so many eye rolls. ;-)