Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Thanksgiving Treat- Linda LaRoque is in my 'town' today!

Hello everybody
MyThanksgiving treat is having Western Author Linda LaRoque visiting 'she said, he said...' today! Please give her a big welcome, settle in, and find out what Linda has been up to. Not details of today's celebrations-Linda's going to update us on her recent release called 'A Marshall of Her Own'. Take a little break from feasting...or whatever else you might be doing around the world. Pull up a ...chair, get that delicious drink ready..., and let's get going! First let's learn a bit about Linda herself.

Linda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

Welcome, Linda. it's great to have you here on your blog tour. Since yesterday kicked off with a bang let's read a lttle about you, and the 'tools of writing' history you've got to share with us today. Maybe if we're good we'll get right on to that exciting blurb...and excellent 'gotta read today' excerpt.

The Invention of the Fountain Pen

In the process of writing my time travel, A Marshal of Her Own, set in the old West in 1890 my heroine wants to write an article for the newspaper and goes in search of writing materials. The owner of the boarding house where Dessa is staying sends her to the desk in the parlor. What would she find? I decided I better research the topic.

When I started school in the early 1950s, our desks still had ink wells and the pens we used were refillable by using a plunger type device. It could sometimes be a messy process and we often had ink smudged fingers and papers. In high school we graduated to the ink cartridges you dropped into the pen and then ball point pens became readily available.

For my research, I knew my heroine would be using either a quill pen, which had its own hollow channel, or possibly an early fountain pen. Steel nips for pens became common in the 1830s and soon replaced the quill pen. The oldest known fountain pen that has survived was developed by a Frenchman in 1702. The first self-filling fountain pen was developed by John Jacob Parker in 1831 but early pens were plagued with problems--ink spills and problems that made them impractical for use.

Louis Waterman is credited with developing the first practical fountain pen. He added an air hole in the steel hip and three groves inside the feed mechanism. This allowed the ink to flow more smoothly.

The most competitive part of the fountain pen industry was the method the pen used to fill the ink reservoir. Earlier pens used an eyedropper. Next came the flexible rubber sac that you squeezed the air out of allowing it to draw in the ink. A variety of other methods were designed with the lever filler by Walter Sheaffer being the design used most into the 1940s.

The lever type pen is the one I first remember using. In 1950 the cartridges were developed though I don't believe they were readily available for a few years.

Though ballpoint pens actually date back to the late 19th Century, they weren't exploited commercially. The first commercial ball point pens were made by Josef Lazio in 1943 in Britain and sales skyrocketed during WWII. They were more durable and could survive battlefield environments. They weren't introduced to the US market until 1945.


I decided in my story the heroine Dessa Wade wouldn't have access to a fountain pen so, she starts out with a quill pen. After a messy start, she gives up and picks up a lead pencil.

A Marshal of Her Own


Despite rumors of “strange doings” at a cabin in Fredericksburg, investigative reporter Dessa Wade books the cottage from which lawyer, Charity Dawson, disappeared in 2008. Dessa is intent on solving the mystery. Instead, she is caught in the mystery that surrounds the cabin and finds herself in 1890 in a shootout between the Faraday Gang and a US Marshal.

Marshal Cole Jeffers doesn’t believe Miss Wade is a time traveler. He admits she’s innocent of being an outlaw, but thinks she knows more about the gang than she’s telling. When she’s kidnapped by Zeke Faraday, Cole is determined to rescue her. He’s longed for a woman of his own, and Dessa Wade just might be the one—if she’ll commit to the past.


Dessa stood still and watched as they conversed. Something stank to high heaven about this entire situation. Why were the cops chasing robbers on horseback? It’s not like Fredericksburg was that isolated. She glanced at the captured men. The boy moaned, and she made a step to go over and help him. The Marshal spun, and the expression in his eye froze her in place.

“He needs first aid.”

“He’s fine. The Doc will tend to him when we get to the jail.”

“You could at least call 911 and let them patch him up for you.” She nodded to the man lying so still with his eyes closed. “Your other prisoner doesn’t look so good. He’s going to die on you if you don’t start CPR or get him some help.”

“Lady, no one is going to hear a yell from out here. Never heard of any 911 or CPR.” He propped the hand not holding the shotgun on his hip and threw her a disgusted look. “Are you blind? That man is dead, shot through the heart.”

Her head swam for a moment, and she struggled not to give in to the sensation and faint. She drew in deep gulps of air. “Well...well..., what about the coroner and the meat wagon, not to mention the CSI folks? If you don’t get them to record the scene, how are you going to cover your butt? The authorities might say you shot him in cold blood.”

He looked at her like she’d sprouted an extra head. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about woman. No one will question my authority. I’m the law in this county. Now, be quiet, or I’m going to gag you.”

A Marshal of Her Own will be available now at The Wild Rose Press,, Barnes and and other online book stores. It is the sequel to A Law of Her Own available at The Wild Rose Press,, and Barnes and and other online book stores. I’m awaiting a release date for A Love of His Own, the third story in the Prairie, Texas series.

My release contest for A Marshal of Her Own began November 9th. I’ll be giving away this vintage rhinestone typewriter pin. To enter the drawing, go to my website or blog and sign up for my newsletter. Don’t forget to verify your email address. If you already receive it, email me at with A Marshal of Her Own contest in the subject line. Contest ends December 15, 2011.

Leave me a comment or ask a question today and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an ecopy of A Law of Her Own.

Also, today’s blog post is part of 2 blog tours—this one for A Marshal of Her Own and starting December 4th, one for Born in Ice. Follow along each day and leave a comment to be entered into the grand prize drawing and learn about my Born in Ice contest.

The Blog Tour schedule will be posted on my blog and website. It will last 25 days and the Grand Prize is a Kindle. Leave a comment each day and your name will be entered 25 times. Pretty good odds, huh?

Thank you for having me on your blog today, Nancy!

Tomorrow, Nov. 25th I’ll be on Linda Kage’s blog at talking about Underwear in the Nineteenth Century.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Linda LaRoque

Writing Romance With a Twist in Time!/linda.laroque!/LindaLaRoque

hope you enjoy the blurb and excerpt for A Marshal of Her Own.


  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Nancy. I'll be in and out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your readers.

  2. Hi Linda. Happy Thanksgiving to you too. I'm thinking a lot of people are out there celebrating hard just now but they'll be very welcome to join us when they can!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to All.

    Loved the excerpt. I'm adding A Marshal of Her Own to my must have list.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  4. Thanks for popping in, Tracey D. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving! I really like learning historical tidbits especially when it's connected to a story. I'm impressed with the penmanship of people in days gone by. They always seemed to have really elegant and precise writing. I know it's due in part to a quill but I would like to think it's because writing was the main form of communication rather than typewriters or PCs. A fun interview.


  6. Thanks for visiting, Na. Let's not forget, though, all the painstaking hours it took to learn to write with a quill and all the hours of practice.
    I started school in 1957 and by 1961 had learned to write with a 'dip in the inkwell and squeeze it full' type of fountain pen.I made some horrendous messes and was often given the tawse. The 'tawse' in Scotland was a leather strap that was slapped across the palms of the miscreants...or unsuccessful pupils. Though I became an elementary teacher myself I can never claim neat handwriting as one of my best achievements!

  7. Tracey and Na. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. So true, Na, people my mothers age had beautiful handwriting and also could spell a lot better than the modern generation.

    Oh my, Nancy, a slap on the palms??? I hope they don't still do that over there.

    I'm stuffed after Thanksgiving dinner. Still haven't had dessert. No room!

  8. Nope, it was outlawed around the late 1970s or so. A big fat dessert sounds good to me. Think I'll hop off and have a nice bit of cake since it's well into the evening for me!

  9. Thank goodness we don't have to use ink and fountain pens these days. I love my laptop :) good luck with your new release.

  10. I couldn't agree more, Shelly. Nice to have you visit!

  11. Well, thank goodness, Nancy. How was your cake? I left most the desserts at my sister-in-laws so I wouldn't be terribly tempted. Am diabetic now so must limit myself. Hubby will enjoy most of what we returned with.

    I know what you mean, Shelley. We've become so spoiled with our ball point and gel ink pens. I decided in the 80s I wanted an old fountain pen with the cartridges. Didn't write with it much as too much trouble. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi Linda. I had honeycomb ice cream instead of cake...yumm. Sadly it's now close to 1 am for me, Linda, so I'm going to go and do the ZZZZZZs thing. Any new visitors I appreciate you calling, and I'll get back to you during my tomorrow. So 'Good night sweet prince...' errr make that princesses and something like...'angels high thee to thy rest.' (Just made that up, I'm not actually quoting Shakespeare) but I will leave you with a wee canny Scottish saying - 'The langest day will hae an end' (All things eventually come to an end) and so it is for me. Thanks for being on the blog, Linda. Slainthe!

  13. Mmmm, sounds good!

    Oh yes, hope you have a good night. I've had trouble posting so don't know if this will make it or not. Confusion on google accounts.

    Thank you for having me, Nancy! Please draw an ebook winner and I'll send a copy of A Law of Her Own.

  14. It's amazing what you discover when you dig into the past. I had never considered what writing materials would be found in certain eras before. For a writer a must.


  15. Nearly missed you, Marybelle. I've been updating the blog and moving stuff around. Glad you dropped in.

  16. Linda, I really enjoyed learning about the pen. An interesting blog. A fun excerpt, too. Can't wait to read it.

  17. I went through a faze in the early 80's when I used a fountain pen with a cartridge. I don't think my high school teachers were as fond of the thing as I was, but I'm sure I still have it somewhere.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at


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