Friday, April 12, 2013

Hey You Under the Shade Tree

Buy Something to Howl About HERE

 Written by Azura Ice 
I’ve written two paranormal western/steampunk books and one sci-fi romance historical set in the mid 1800s. Research is a must when writing these sub-genres. It’s a challenge to find pieces of information about the 1800s, but the most irksome topic for the 19th century—I believe—is men’s and women’s clothing. The names and uses of various pieces are interesting and baffling. For example, the U shape that goes around the ankle to hold spurs is called the yoke (some refer to it as a heel band) and the piece that sticks out to secure the spur is the shank (sometimes called the neck).

Now delve into more intimate things and you have your work cut out for you. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to find accurate information. Birth control of the 1800s is a topic often leaving the writer scratching h/her head. In 1844, rubber was vulcanized, and soon after rubber condoms appeared, but what about the women who couldn’t afford such things? My mother has helped me research this topic and she discovered pennies were used like a cervical cap. Bear in mind pennies of the 1800s were much larger coins than we use today. Here’s another one I found—and it’s very disgusting—crocodile dung and honey were mixed and inserted into the vagina as a contraceptive. Even sea sponges soaked in vinegar were believed to prevent pregnancy.

But what about the actual “Wild West” and how people lived? What are the parts of a stagecoach? What are the various pieces of a dress ensemble? Hmm…guess what? Wealthy women had more pieces to their clothing than farm women. And then there’s men’s attire. What is the chain of a pocket watch called (there’s another term other than fob) and how is it attached to his vest? Can you name all hat styles men wore during the 19th century? [runs screaming into the night]

Yeah, writing time period manuscripts can test your determination as well as your patience.

Oh, speaking of stage coaches, here’s some info you may or may not know. The passengers who held the lowest class tickets were the ones who had to change a wagon wheel if it fell off or busted. The first and second class ticket holders sat in the shade passing around canteens and sometimes even sandwiches kept in a picnic basket.

Nice, huh? Well, I’ve had four kids and they’ve kept my wallet drained dry, so remind me NOT to book passage on a stagecoach, okay? I’d be hollering, “Hey you under the shade tree! Get your petticoats over here and help me change this tire!”

I thought it would be fun to write a 1Night Stand book with a paranormal steampunk theme. One involving—dare I whisper it?—werewolves. Basil of Something to Howl About doesn’t really worry about such things. Madame Eve has a steam coach pick him up and drive him to a desert resort owned and operated by the Castillo family. He’s even supplied with an authentic western costume to wear at The Cursed Revolver’s bash, a lycanthrope celebration where he encounters pure evil and also undying love.

What’s next in the way of historical westerns and steampunk? I’m not sure yet, but rest assured I’m still doing a lot of research for the next one I write.


  1. Oh my gosh! I can't imagine using contraceptives back then. The horror!

    Congrats on your new release!! :)

  2. i think the poor women usually did alot of crossing their fingers and praying, followed by whatever home remedy they might know. SOOO glad i didn't live then! LOL

    tammy ramey

  3. I agree with both of you, ladies! LOL

  4. Vinegar has a million uses, apparently! I'd much prefer that over the other contraceptives, lol.
    Such a fun premise! Sounds like a great read. Congrats!

  5. What fascinating facts your research turned up. It's so easy to get distracted by fun stuff like that! Congrats on your story - sounds like a winning combination!

  6. You're right, Cate. Vinegar is a multi-purpose liquid. It makes a great cleaning agent and is wonderful for cutting oil in hair as well as being a preservative...

    Barbara, I find myself getting distracted all the time in research, lol. I really have to be careful.