Kristy McCaffrey is a writer of Old West Romances. She likes the peculiar, the fascinating, and the scientific; animals and the outdoors; her husband and teenaged children; history, symbols, and mythology. Grab a cup of tea and hang out by the fireside. Let's travel together.
The mining town of Creede—located in southeastern Colorado—was named after Nicholas Creede.
The early life of Creede is cloaked in mystery. His given name was William H. Harvey and according to one story he was born on a farm near Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1841. His father died when he was four and he was forced to support himself at age twelve. Another version states that he was born in 1848 and lived with his family in Iowa until he was eight. In a moment of despair, he changed his name when the girl he loved jilted him for his brother. Another tale asserts he changed his name in 1886 or 1887 while living in Julesberg, Colorado, due to trouble with Indians.
In the 1860’s, Creede enlisted in the famous Pawnee Scouts—Pawnee Indian braves led by white officers—who rode across the plains of Nebraska guarding wagon trains and defending settlers against hostile Cheyenne and Sioux warriors. Creede was quickly made a first lieutenant and fought Indians for seven years in Nebraska and Dakota. He was known as a great ‘war chief’ and became fluent in the Pawnee language. It was during this time that Creede saw the mining activities in the Black Hills and became enamored of the hunt for silver and gold.
During the 1870’s, he left the Pawnee Scouts and began prospecting in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California, achieving modest success with several claims. In August 1889, Creede and his partners—E.R. Naylor and G.L. Smith—were prospecting on Campbell Mountain (in the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado) when they located the Holy Moses claim. The mining boom of the Creede District began in the fall of 1890 when word spread that the Holy Moses had been sold for $70,000 to Denver investors.
Creede, Colorado 1892
Creede later located the Amethyst vein and the subsequent mines included the Bachelor, the Annie Rooney, the Sunnyside, and the Commodore. Creede’s share of the Amethyst mining operation was well over a million dollars. Not long after the discovery, the camp in the area (known as Jimtown) was renamed to Creede.
Creede eventually married but it wasn’t a happy union. While in the midst of divorce proceedings he died of an accidental morphine overdose on July 12, 1897.
~ Coming October 31 ~
Wings of the West: Book Five
Now available for pre-order at a special limited release price of 99 cents.
The Bluebird will be FREE in the Kindle Unlimited program.
Molly Rose Simms departs the Arizona Territory, eager for
adventure, and travels to Colorado to visit her brother. Robert left two years
ago to make his fortune in the booming silver town of Creede, and now Molly
Rose hopes to convince him to accompany her to San Francisco, New York City, or
even Europe. But Robert is nowhere to be found. All Molly Rose finds is his
partner, a mysterious man known as The Jackal.
Jake McKenna has traveled the bustling streets of Istanbul,
exotic ports in China, and the deserts of Morocco. His restless desire to
explore has been the only constant in his life. When his search for the elusive
and mythical Bluebird mining claim lands him a new partner, he must decide how
far he’ll go to protect the stunning young woman who’s clearly in over her
head. A home and hearth has never been on The Jackal’s agenda, but Molly Rose
Simms is about to change his world in every conceivable way.
Recently on Facebook, a 'Twenty Question' game was going around for authors, so I thought I'd post my contribution here on my blog.
1.) What is your Author name?
2.) What is the first book you ever published?
3.) What is your publiversary?
2003 (I think it
was June, I can’t remember now).
4.) What is your favorite book you've written thus far?
Wren (because it was my first).
5.) What book took you the longest to write?
6.) How long did it take you?
6 years, although I stopped writing for a bit.
7.) What kind of music (if any) do you listen to while you write?
make playlists on my iPod for each book. I listen to a lot of 70’s music
(Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Boston). I also use soundtracks (favorites are The
Quick and the Dead, Bad Girls, Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White and the
Huntsman, and Anchorman 2).
8.) Who is your favorite character from any of your books?
I love all of
them but I do have a special fondness for Molly Hart from ‘The Wren’.
9.) What are you currently working on?
I’m writing the first book in a new contemporary adventure romance series I hope to launch
next spring. The first book is titled DEEP BLUE and features a marine biologist studying great white sharks in Baja, Mexico and a hunky underwater filmmaker who is making a documentary about her.
10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write?
chew a lot of sugar-free gum.
11.) What is a favorite quote or
line from one of your books?
a difficult question. I’ve recently been pulling one-liners from my books to
post on Twitter, so here’s one from ‘The
His lips tenderly met hers, and
with it a león de montaña gentled a
12.) Are you a self-published or a traditional published author?
self-published but I also work with a small publisher on various projects.
13.) What is your writing inspiration?
love storytelling, so I’m constantly soaking up narratives by reading and
watching movies and television series.
14.) What genre do you write?
western romance, but soon to include contemporary adventure.
15.) Do you have any writing rituals?
I find it very difficult to write in the morning so I do business matters then. I write in the afternoons. It frequently ruins dinner for my husband LOL.
16.) Do you have a specific place
write at my desk.
17.) Do you have any advice for
the craft but nurture your intuitive abilities. A good story is always about
emotion and less about perfect writing skills.
18.) What are your writing goals?
produce entertaining stories.
19.) What authors inspire you and
are too many to list here. I’m part of a very supportive network of women who
write western romances and I’ve learned much from them.
I’d like to share background on the formation of my
historical western romance series, the Wings of the West. When I began
developing characters and ideas, the titles intuitively came to me—The Wren, The
Dove, The Sparrow, The Blackbird, and the forthcoming
final installment, The Bluebird. How I would tie the birds into the
storylines was a great unknown as I began each tale, but one thing emerged
rather quickly—an underlying psychological theme of the journey of the feminine
In The Wren (Book
One), the heroine Molly has been abducted by Comanche when she is nine years
old. At nineteen, she finally finds the means to return home to Texas, to
search for the life she’d lost so abruptly. We must all leave the safety of
‘home’ at some point in our lives to grow, whether physically or
metaphorically, and the lesson is always that home isn’t a place outside of us
but an internal sanctuary that we must nurture within ourselves. Molly’s
journey comes full circle when she makes a home with the hero, Matt.
In The Dove (Book
Two), Claire lives in a saloon run by her mama. While Claire herself isn't a
soiled dove, she still faces the decisions many women face—does she live a life
for herself or for others? How many times do women prostitute themselves
because they don't feel they're worthy, or they perceive they have no choice?
How do we 'use' others to gain our own ends? Claire also yearns to become a
doctor, and this addresses the idea of healing through outside, external means.
These can be effective, but only to a point. This leads to the next book.
In The Sparrow (Book Three), the heroine Emma undergoes a shamanic journey of
initiation while traversing the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During
this process, she is helped by her power animal, Sparrow. Life causes wounds—we
all have them—and while mending these are often sought through medicine, at
some point an internal journey will be required. It’s the only way to truly heal
the soul. While today we might seek the counsel of a trained psychologist, many
indigenous people used the medicine man or shaman. The techniques of both are
In The Blackbird (Book Four), Tess is a storyteller, A Keeper of the Old Ways;
this is, and always has been, connected with imparting wisdom and magic to
listeners through the telling of tales. She meets a hero who nurtures and
protects this side of her, as any true life-partner should. Stories have the
power to heal. It is yet the next step in mending the heart and the soul.
In The Bluebird
(Book Five ~ coming October 31st), the heroine Molly Rose (niece to the Molly in the first book)
yearns to travel and see the world. She connects with a man who can help her
achieve these goals. The final step in the psychological journey—once healing
has been undertaken and a new, better version of oneself is achieved—is to take
all that’s been learned and go forth in the world. Life is an adventure and is
meant to be experienced as such.
The first humane society in North America—the American
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)—was founded by Henry
Bergh in New York in 1866. Its purpose was, according to Bergh, “to provide effective
means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
He established the ASPCA three days after the first legislation against animal
cruelty was passed by the New York State Legislature. He had prepared these
In 1873, Bergh made a lecture tour of the western U.S. which
resulted in the formation of several similar societies. The American Humane
Association was created in 1877 as a network of local organizations to prevent
cruelty to children and animals.
One consequence of Bergh’s work was the establishment of an
ambulance corps for removing disabled animals from the street and a derrick for
removing them from excavations into which they had fallen. He also invented a
substitute for live pigeons with artificial ones as marks for sportsmen’s guns.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals (MSPCA) was founded in Boston in 1868 by George Angell and Emily
Appleton. Angell, after reading about two horses that were raced to death by
carrying two riders each over 40 miles of rough roads, began a high-profile
protest of animal cruelty. He also created a publication—Our Dumb Animals—as a way “to speak for those who cannot speak for
themselves.” (“Dumb” refers to the fact that animals can’t speak.) The
following year, the Massachusetts General Court passed the first anti-animal
By 1886, 39 states had adopted statutes relating to the
protection of animals from cruelty, based on the original laws set forth by
Henry Bergh in New York.
Today, the ASPCA is one of the largest humane societies in
What did you do for fun as a child? Chances are you’re still
drawn to whatever activity brought you joy. And if you’re not doing it at this
point in your life, then you should be.
When I was ten years old I began a habit that I still
continue today. Every time I went to the movies, I transcribed it into my Movie
Log. It began after I’d seen Star Wars and was mesmerized by the scope and
spectacle thrumming through me as I watched such an amazing mythology unfold
before my eyes. I soon contrived to see the movie nearly 30 times in the
theater and was compelled to start a Movie Log to keep track of each viewing.
My very scientific Movie Log.
I still add every film I’ve ever seen to the list. By now,
my kids and husband tease me about it, or as my daughter recently said, “You
really ought to put it in a file on the Cloud before you lose it.”
The reason this activity brings me so much joy is related to
my vocation as a writer. My Movie Log is my collection of stories. Every
writer, in order to have a vast reservoir of material to work from, must amass
stories in some form. This is my way of keeping them all close. I can review
the list at any time. I can remember how I felt when I experienced that
particular tale. I can track how deeply a story made an impression on me by the
number of times I engaged in repeat viewings. (Flash Gordon, anyone?)
This activity still brings me satisfaction today, which is
why I’ve continued it. (I also suspect I’m a little OCD, but I digress.) What
childhood activity did you engage in that made you blissfully happy? And more
importantly, are you still doing it?
I'm considered a hybrid author because although I self-publish (my Wings series and Alice: Bride of Rhode Island), I also work on projects with a small publisher -- Prairie Rose Publications. Three years ago, Prairie Rose was founded by two women -- Cheryl Pierson and Livia Reasoner -- both wonderful writers with years of experience in the industry. They sought to provide a home for writers who were looking for that extra support (editing, formatting, book cover designs, and marketing) while also offering some of the best contract terms available today. It's been a real pleasure for me to be a part of the PRP family.
Prairie Rose is celebrating its 3rd Birthday this week with lots of fun over at the PRP Blog. Although the festivities began on Friday, there's still more to come.
I also wanted to share that my entire backlist (except for ALICE: BRIDE OF RHODE ISLAND) is now available in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's subscription reading service. Because a requirement of the program is to be Amazon exclusive, the books are no longer available on other platforms (iBooks, Kobo, Nook or Smashwords). This will be a limited run for my Wings series (they will probably come out next spring and be distributed wide once again), so please take advantage of the opportunity to catch up on any books you might've missed. Also, the Wings series will be going into print this fall.
**The following books are now available in Kindle Unlimited**