Catherine Holder Spude's Blog
Historic Summaries by Catherine Holder Spude
Who Killed Soapy?
Frank W. Clancy
Transcribed historic documents relating to Skagway, Alaska in the first two decades of the twentieth century:
Rev. John A. Sinclair Papers
Skagway Townsite Files
Soapy Newspaper Clips
MANUSCRIPTS: SEEKING PUBLICATION: Read Excerpts
NON-FICTION HISTORY By Catherine Holder Spude
RED CURTAINS AND BLUE LAWS: GENDER, CLASS AND VICE ON AMERICA'S LAST FRONTIER, 1897-1918. The conflict between the middle class who want moral reforms in Skagway, Alaska and the people who make money and find pleasure in the sale of liquor and sex. It was a story repeated all over America in the Progressive Era. This meticulously-researched history emphasizes the clash between genders and class after the gold rush.
HISTORICAL NOVELS by Catherine Holder Spude
RETURN TO THE MOUNTAINS. New Mexico, 1868. The Navajo people must return a sacred object to Mt. Taylor in order to appease the Holy People. Doing so may help them return harmony to their land, and convince the Bilagani to let them go back to their mountains and canyons. The journey of six Dine and four Bilagani becomes an epic saga every bit as heroic as Tolkein's Lord of the Rings.
EL COBRE! New Mexico, the 1870's. Michael Hawke, master strategizer and financier, means to acquire the Santa Rita del Cobre mine for his investors in Colorado. He has never failed at any project he undertakes. He will not do so this time, even if it takes him a decade and he loses his heart and soul in the process. For anyone who lives at the Santa Rita soon learns to love it, and its people.
THE UNTERRIFIED: Skagway, Alaska, 1899 - 1909. Chris Shea serves laughter with the drinks at his bar. The men who drink his beer and whiskey rely on him to provide space for their union meetings, and before long, they elect him city councilman, then mayor. When he takes on the railroad, he thinks he owns Skagway. Until Big Business fights back, the dirty way.
For a second excerpt see "Aces and Eights."
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MYSTERIES By Cody Grant
DEAD MEN TELL TALES Skagway, Alaska, June 2002. Archaeologist Cassie Mitchell finds a body with a knife in the throat beneath a historic building. June, 1902. Retired U.S. Deputy Marshal Rip Travers tries to solve a murder without a body. Can Cassie and her historian friend discover the identity of the body using Rip's notes?
DEADFALL Promontory Point, Utah, Today. Archaeologist Cassie Mitchell finds a body in a pit full of boulders. Using the artifacts on the body, she dates it to 1869. Was this the murder pugilist and sheriff Patsy Marley tried to solve that summer?
THE RECKONING. Whetstone Mountains, Arizona, Today. Archaeologist Cassie Mitchell uncovers a body at Mesquite Springs, Arizona, thinking it's that of Curly Bill Brocius, who was killed by Wyatt Earp on March 28, 1882. But the forensics don't match. Follow the story of the Earps and the Cowboys in the late 19th century, and Cassie's modern-day investigation to discover who lay in Brocious' grave.
MURDER AT MALPAIS . El Morro, New Mexico, Today. Cassie Mitchell discovers two skeletons in an ice cave. Her historical research leads her to the story of the half-Navajo cattle rancher Johnny Betcher
and the abused Amy Cowen from Grants, New Mexico. How does their cross-cultural marriage lead to death on the Malpais in 1886?
CIBOLA . Canyonlands National Park. Today. When Cassie Mitchell, Derek Chavez, and Rory Saint investigate the body of a Spanish conquistador, they begin research that will take them to Mexico, Florida, Germany, and Spain, and as far back as the Sixteenth Century on a trail of clues that leads straight to the legendary Seven Cities of Gold.
HISTORICAL MYSTERIES by Cody Grant
THE CASE OF THE BROKEN PADDLE: A Rip Travers Mystery. Skagway, Alaska, 1901. A Tlingit warrior finds the paddle belonging to a his missing brother. Before the week is out, Florence and Bert Horton are dead, and every white person in Southeast Alaska is sure they will be slaughtered. How is U.S. Deputy Marshal Rip Travers to keep the peace and solve the case without starting a war? Based on a true story.
THE CASE OF THE BICYCLE SHOE: A Rip Travers Mystery. Minto, Yukon Territory, 1899. Three men disappear on Christmas Day, 1899 while bicycling from Dawson to Skagway, Alaska. The weather is mild and there is no reason for them to go missing. A week later, their papers show up in Whitehorse. Will Clayson begs U.S. Deputy Marshal Rip Travers to look into his brother Fred's disappearance. Can Rip find these men when the Northwest Mounted Police can't? Based on a true story.
MYSTERIES BY Cody Grant
DEVIL'S DEAL. Grayson Means rises from park planner to Director of the National Park Service in a few short years, all the while benefiting from the natural deaths of his predecessors. Park Ranger Thomas Whitewolf notices changes at Yellowstone National Park he doesn't like and begins to connect the dots just as Means becomes Secretary of the Interior, the fifth man in succession from the presidency. Is there no stopping Means? And should Whitewolf pay any attention to the warnings of his Blackfoot shaman about devils in the geyser basins?
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCES BY Cate Duncan
ROMANCE IN RUINS Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico. Archaeologist Tessa McGyver loved checking out pristine archaeological sites as much as she hated seeing one bulldozed by site looters. Taking photographs of one of the best she'd ever seen being destroyed, she vowed the rats would pay. Instead she ended up a captive with a gun in her belly. The only way she'd get away alive is if she could get word to the hunky Apache Grant County deputy she'd run into a few days before. Good thing he'd given her a two-way radio, diguised as an IPod. Now, if she could only get it out of her back pocket ...
THE GOLD DIGGER Skagway, Alaska. Tammy Williams had spent over a decade doing research on Chris Shea. She knew everything there was to know about him: what motivated him, what made him happy, what made him angry, what kept him going. The only thing she didn't know was how to bring him back to life. Because Chris had been dead for a hundred years. The real tragedy was, Tammy was hopelessly in love with Chris Shea, and could never love another man.
Then, one day, he was there, living and breathing and standing right in front of her.
FOR THE LOVE OF JUSTICE. Glacier Creek, Alaska. Historian Justice Donovan goes to Glacier Creek, Alaska, to identify U. S. Marshal Rip Travers’s Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver. There she meets Rip’s great-grandson, Peter Travers, a lawman of a different kind, tall, broad-shouldered, mustached, bushy-eye browed lawyer, and the spitting image of Rip. Within two days, she’s fallen head over heels in love with a man who warns her that he won’t ever love a woman again.
REASON TO KILL. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marni Thompson, an archaeologist with two bright teenagers and a tall, dark, handsome husband seems to have everything she could want in life. Except her freedom and joy in life. She gets by one day at a time by meeting her friends at the coffee shop each morning and pretending nothing’s wrong. Until one morning, the guys find out that her husband has been beating her.
HISTORICAL ROMANCES By Cate Duncan
PRETTY FACE: Wyoming, 1896. Rebecca Billingsly's dominating father has controlled her life since she was a little girl. He married her off to an impotent lord from England. Now she's a widow in a state that has given women the vote. She's free to run her own ranch. And to chose who she wants to love. And she wants the ranch foreman, Jake Hunter, the man who kissed her when she was 17 years old.
A NAME REDEEMED: Book One of THE WIDOWS OF THE CIMARRON. Cimarron, New Mexico, 1865. A man with no name comes upon the weather-beaten ranch house of the widow Amanda Jameson, laiden with sacks of gold and silver and a strange story of granting her husband's dying wish. She gives him a good meal, a place to rest his horse and a bed for the night. He stays a week, and then is gone, leaving her the gold and his heart and a promise to return when he finds his name. Who is he? And what will he find when he searches for a name for his legacy?
GRACE REDEEMED: Book Two of THE WIDOWS OF THE CIMARRON. New Mexico, 1867. Grace McGregor and her sons find the Army scout Travis Jackson wounded and dying after an attack by Comancheros a few miles west of their homestead. They nurse him back to health, even though they know her husband, Gus McGregor, will be furious that she has cared for another man should he return and find out what she has done. Despite the fact that Grace is married, she and Travis become more and attracted to one another. Where is McGregor? Has he abandoned his family? One that fears and hates him? And what will Travis do if and when the man returns?
HONOR REDEEMED: Book Three of THE WIDOWS OF THE CIMARRON. Fort Union, New Mexico, January 1868. Alice Jenkins, a new widow, must leave Fort Union unless she can find a position for herself at the post. She has not heard from her family for over four years, since she and her lieutenant husband came west. She has nowhere to go. When Dr. John Conley asks if she would like to be a hospital matron, she gladly accepts his offer. But his offer means scandal at the close-knit society of the post, and her acceptance tells every bachelor officer that she is 'available.' When she discovers she's pregnant, there is nothing to do but marry the first officer who makes an offer.
OUTLAW'S PROMISE Near Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1873. Tom Clayton swore he'd never have anything to do with women after Mary Beth seduced him, got heavy with his child and then married a shop keeper. She said she couldn't marry a man who owned only a horse and a six-shooter, even if he did love her. Now, suspected of the rape and murder of Dona Diego, and running from vigilantes, why should he trust a widow who told him he looked like her dream of the perfect man? Maybe because Jessie Dobson needs a man around the house as much as he needs a place to hide and someone to nurse his wound.
FANTASY ROMANCES by Cate Duncan
DISASTROUS LOVE: Book One of the Terrabien Series. Near Santa Fe, New Mexico, a few years in the future. Becca Tucker has lived in a loveless marriage for the sake of her teenage daughter, Chelsea. Then everything changes. Geologists have long predicted the eruption of a super-volcano in the Yellowstone National Park region. Ed won't listen to her when she brings home a report that it is ready to blow and they must find shelter. Consequently, he dies. The man who saves her life? None other than the one person who stole her heart years ago, during long, sultry afternoons while watching their children play in the neighborhood park, Levi Martin, the geologist who predicted the eruption.
FATED LOVE: Book Two of the Terrabien Series.
About 500 years in the future, in northern Colorado. Alora of Seagrette finds that widowhood might not be so difficult, if it weren't for an ruthless brother-in-law who would like to wed her in order to usurp her son's inheritance. She ponders this thorny problem as her traveling party enters her father's city of Hargrove. Abruptly, all her problems vanish when her eyes fall on those of the man leading the war party entering the Hargrove market square. The world disappears, leaving only a man who has invaded her dreams since she was a child: Conrad of Martin, the King's Guard, and leader of her family's greatest enemy.
LOVE'S DUTY: Book Three of the Terrabien Series. About 750 years in the future on the Colorado - New Mexico border. Reno Oakman's duty is to bring home his Lord Talbot's missing daughter, Rosanna, a girl he remembers from his youth as spoiled, vivacious, and the only female he ever really liked. She's been missing for ten years, and all of that time Oak has thought of nothing but rescuing the errant daughter of his Lord and the sister of his best friend. But why did his lord and master have to complicate things by telling him to make sure the girl was pregnant when he delivered her safely to the House of her father? Because a pregnant daughter must be wed to the sterile Lord Linder.
THE WIZARD'S LOVE: Book Four of the Terrabien Series. In central Colorado, a thousand years after an apocalypse that destroyed Earth's civilization, Hagar, the witch utter a Prophesy. It foretold that Carra, widow of Cantille would carry the Hope of Terrabien to Chivalray, the capital of the land. The wizard Dantag knew from his coming of age that he would be bound someway to the prophesy. And King Mikal of Chivalray could think no further than getting an heir from a widow known to bear sons. How could any of them predict that they would all come to love one another as they schemed for Terrabien's future?
WOLFE AND THE WITCH: An Adult Fairy Tale. Elianna can remember nothing before awakening in an enchanted cottage, one that fulfills her least and greatest wishes. They have only to do with her daily needs, food, clothing, warmth and comfort. Until she wishes for love. The soldier his men call Wolfe thought he would die from his wounds. But somehow the odd lady in the forest eases his pain and gives him the strength to heal his torn muscles. Most miraculous of all, she accepts his curse, the one cast by a greedy wizard bribed by a jealous stepmother. Until he can walk away from his vengeance, he will always be part man and part wolf. Can the enchanted cottage fulfill both their wishes? Hers for love and his for vengeance? And can all evil spells be broken?
With Blood in His Eye: The Biography of Josiah M. "Si" Tanner. 1852-1927. Sheriff, Captain, U. S. Deputy Marshal, Magistrate, Baseball Team Manager, City Councilman, Mayor, Territorial Senator, U. S. Marshal. They called him a lot of things. More than one newspaper referred to him as "Uncle Si." I called him "Con Man's Curse" in True West Magazine's June 2007 issue. That was for his role in rounding up the "Soapy" Smith gang in July 1898. It was just one of many jobs he undertook in his long career of public service.
Wyatt Earp's Saddle Horn: Examine the reliability of the various accounts by Earp, Hooker, Flood, Burns and Lake on the shooting of Wyatt Earp's saddle horn at Iron Springs.
Cottonwood Springs, Arizona: Finding the place where Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill Brocius.
The Fort Union Mass Burial: Professional historical archaeological and forensic anthropological investigations of four human burials from Fort Union, New Mexico.