A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Mad River

I hope all of you had a marvelous Mother's Day, and are celebrating today, Memorial Day, in the most pleasant of ways. To all who served, or tried to serve, I thank you! I am wearing the tee shirt I bought from the Vietnam Women's Memorial that says, "Not All Women Wore Love Beads" with a photo of the dog tag chain and two dog tags that say, "Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation" and, "Honoring Women Who Served." I keep thinking I should dig out my dog tags to wear with it. Maybe if I go out again;-)

First off, news of the agent, Hong Kong, cabbages, and.... I have received the Agreement from the Agent, and, because she is in Hong Kong, under different laws than ours here in the States, I have hired an Intellectual Property attorney who specializes in dealings with China and knows and understands their laws, to go over it and either Bless it or make Suggested Changes to it. So I still have no more exciting news to share along those lines. Next week?

I have a real publisher for Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country, and if you aren't going to be in the Kennewick area and able to attend my book signing at Barnes & Noble on 7 June between 1 – 3pm, please consider buying your copy from this link: http://www.sandhpublishing.com/Madame_Dorion.html and if you would like it signed, please contact me through this blog or my Face Book page https://www.facebook.com/MadameDorion.

"I literally could not put the book down once I had started reading it. I thought the author did a wonderful job of attempting to interpret and determine how the journey to the Oregon Territory must have been for Madame Dorion... I appreciate the fact that the author, Lenora Rain Lee Good, did her very best to introduce us to another hero of that period long ago. –VO"

The end of September arrived, cold, wet, windy, and on 1 October 1811, the party had climbed out of the Spanish River valley, and arrived at the banks of the Mad River, so called because it was, obviously, mad (angry) as it crashed through the mountains just south of Teton Pass.

This is a section of the Snake River, and due to the construction and lack of turnouts when we drove, we did not stop to get pictures. At the time Marie & Co. were there, anyone who tried to take a canoe (non-flexible dug-outs) down the river, was also considered mad (slightly insane). I am not recommending this site for anything other than pictures, and there are many more sites on the www. http://mad-river.com

Pierre and some of the men tried walking down the Mad River to see if they could find a place to build and launch canoes, but quickly returned with the bad news. They would have to continue on to Henry's Post (or Henry's Fort, whichever you care to call it.) The Hunt party travelled over what we now know as the Teton Pass, and up the Teton Valley, probably following the Teton River. There is some discussion as to whether Henry's Post was near present-day St. Anthony ID on Frank's Fork or on Connant Creek near present day Ashton, ID.  At any rate, the Post was not a military post, at best it was a place where  Andrew Henry and his fellow trappers wintered over the previous year. The descriptions vary somewhat as to what was actually there—cabins (maybe 2), lean-tos, and or cellars. Whatever was there, would have offered some shelter from the elements, if not the coziness of a warm home.

"8 October 1811. Henry's Post is deserted, as expected. There are two log cabins and a dirt cellar, but that is all.
            "Today has been cold. I am glad Pierre insisted I make the warm clothes. The winds are from the west, and bring flurries of snow. The deserted cabins offer shelter from the wind and the snow. The lean-to is gone.
            "The voyageurs are eager to begin building canoes and getting back to the water they know and love and already are felling trees to hollow for dugouts."

By the 18th October, they had made 15 canoes, and on the 19th left all their horses (against the advice of Pierre and some others) with friendly Indians to watch over and return to them on their way back home the following year. All unnecessary equipment was cached and waiting for their return. They were finally going to be on the Snake River, just a few days away from the Columbia, and then just a few days more and they would be at Fort Astoria. Marie would be there in time to have the baby and have women about her to help.

Next Week: Cauldron Linn

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yet Another Detour -- via Hong Kong

Lenora, the soon-to-be-(in)famous Author

Yes, yet another detour from the story of Madame Dorion (if you don't like all these detours, please feel free to buy the book and find out what happens next ;-)

My first published novel, My Adventures as Brother Rat, marketed primarily as a Young Adult novel, has been looking for another home. Sam's Dot Publishing originally published Brother Rat, but Sam's Dot is no longer alive and well, and at best it was a small, albeit quite good, indie publisher.  Sam's Dot had many followers with the books and magazines, and Rat was quite happy there, as were Jiang Li: Warrior Woman of Yueh, and Yadh, the Ugly.

Now, however, Brother Rat wants to move out of her box, and into the world at large. On the advice of friends who have published, and published with overseas agents, I queried an agent in Hong Kong. After all, it makes sense to me – Bother Rat lives in Ancient China. And, today, Agent Kelly and I have agreed to work together. So far, it's a "verbal" agreement, as I just received the "Agreement Between Author and Literary Agent" which I need to read carefully, sign, and return via scanning and email ;-) But it looks like I'm finally going to be allowed to play with the Big Kids! Wheeeee.....!!!!!

The biggest, and most forceful, push came from my friend Jo Alkemade, who wrote the novel, Belonging in Africa. She greatly encouraged me to look for an agent in Asia since 5 of my completed novels and novellas take place in China. It took a while to find one, but it appears I now have an agent in Hong Kong. Or will as soon as I sign and return the Agreement.

Of course, when the Big Kids let you come in and play, they expect you to play by their rules. I'm not sure what this will do to my life (I have a life?) for a while, as she wants some edits done to Rat, and she wants them done ASAP after I receive them ;-) However, I am, to put it extremely mildly and with as much blandness as I can find, EXTREMELY EXCITED!!!

Next week, I promise, we'll get back to Marie and her trek across the country. In the meantime, I'm going to bounce off the walls for a while ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Detour to Gervais, Oregon

Mother's Day is over. I hope you had a most wonderful Mother's Day with your family! I had the marvelous opportunity to spend Saturday, the day before Mother's Day in Gervais, Oregon (outside of Salem) at a very old church, where Madame Dorion is buried. By the way, Gervais is pronounced "Jervis" by the locals.

St. Louis Church, Gervais Oregon
Memorial Stone lower left of picture
Marie Dorion died 5 September 1850 at age 64* and was buried inside the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in French Prairie (the church is just outside the small town of Gervais today). She was buried under the steeple of the log church, and when the church burned to the ground years later, she was more or less forgotten. When the records were found, and translated from French to English several years after that they realized they didn't know, exactly where in the ground she was buried.

To be buried IN the church, rather than in the churchyard outside, is a singular honor normally reserved for Priests, Nuns, and Very Special People. The latter takes a special dispensation. Marie was known to be a most kind and generous woman, giving help as she was able to those in need, especially the new immigrants who lacked so many of even the basic supplies. She was known to make excellent moccasins, and gave many to the often shoeless immigrants. From what I learned of her, if she had it and you needed it, it was yours. My big question is, was Marie an Oblate Nun? That is a possibility, and would have given her entree to burial inside the church.

Entry court to church, showing stone in lower left
The new church, built in 1880, was built over the site of the old church, or at least as close as they could tell. This is the oldest wooden church in the archdiocese and is still used on a regular basis. It is located at the corner of St. Louis Road and Manning Road, and if you're ever in the area, and like old churches and history, check it out!

The Memorial Stone
The Champoeg Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) spent something like three years, and considerable time and, I'm sure, dollars, having a monument made for Madame Dorion. Saturday was the marker dedication, and Jane Kirkpatrick, who wrote a glowing endorsement for my book Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country invited me to come. When she told the ladies at the DAR I would be one of her guests, and that I, too, had written about Marie, they immediately asked her to ask me to bring books, if I had any. I did, and I did. And I sold 35 of them. (Can you see my happy, happy face?)

Jane and I shared a table loaded with her trilogy of Marie Dorion, the Tender Ties Historical SeriesA Name of Her Own (#1), Every Fixed Star (#2), and Hold Tight the Thread (#3). A Name of Her Own and my book cover the same time in Marie's life, but are told in very different ways. Jane and her husband Jerry, who sat between us, were very generous in their praise of my book, and sold many copies for me;-)

Jane Kirkpatrick, the stone, and me
The last book I sold was to a "3rd Great Granddaughter of Marie Dorion" who was very excited to get the book, and promised me she would read it soon, and let me know what she thought of it. Jennifer (the Granddaughter) is a genealogist and her 2d Great Grandmother was Marguerite Venier, Marie's first daughter, born in the Okanogan country.

The ladies of the DAR were likewise generous, and somewhat apologetic because they did not know either my book, or me, even existed until so late, or they would have included me in the program. I was just delighted to be included at all! What a marvelous day – Celebrating one of the greatest pioneer mothers of all time!

Had I known how dark my glasses were (they are Transitions
I would have removed them)
*The actual date of birth for Marie is not known. Most records I've read give it as c. 1786, but I have read as late as 1790. For my book, I used 1786.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Across the present day Union Pass and down into the Green River Valley

Just north of Jackson, WY
Mother's Day is coming up. May I be so humble as to suggest a book about a marvelous mother? Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country by yours truly, seems to fit the bill. Available at your local bookstore or through Amazon.com (you may have to as your bookseller to order it for you).

"The author brings a little known character to life and makes us think of a time before modern conveniences, and a time when women made tough choices and survival was an everyday challenge. I commend the author for her story. Hopefully there will be more on the horizon." C&C

Buffalo and Antelope (lighter 'dots' in upper part of photo)
By the16th of September 1811, they had reached more or less present-day Dubois, Wyoming (pronounced, incidentally, Do Boys by the locals), and climbed the currently named Union Pass. Unfortunately, when we were there, it had been raining a great deal for several days, and the pass, being dirt and gravel, was un-drivable. We were strongly advised against taking it, and though I am of an adventuresome spirit, at least some of the time, I also decided that was not the place to be stuck overnight on an unplanned-for camping trip. Discretion oft times being the better part of valor, we headed on to Jackson's Hole. And it is a hole. If you've never been there, it is a little valley surrounded by very steep mountains. But, Jackson liked it, it was also full of beaver and other good animals. And now the very wealthy like it, too. It is still filled with animals, just not the fur-bearing kind;-)

Dinner time
When Marie & Co., crossed the pass, they would have dropped down into what is now known as the Green River Valley. At that time, the river was called the Spanish River, or the Seeds-Kee-Dee Agie, or Prairie Chicken River, by the Shoshone.

They came to a large, broad valley, full of buffalo and antelope, streams and beaver. Marie had this to say.

The Snake River before Jackson's Hole

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons with Storm Front

"16 September 1811.  We climbed a high pass, but can see nothing as we have been in a cloud since we began. It is cold and wet, and the trail is muddy and slippery. Messr. Hunt assures us there is a valley below, and that the Grand Teton Mountains are only about 100 miles away. Once across them, all waters flow to the Mighty Columbia.
            "O! I think we must be almost there. I will be in Fort Astoria when the baby is born. I am not the only one who is happy; the men have declared a feast and a dance this night."

They stayed in the valley until the 25th September, gathering meat, pelts, and supplies. The nights and days were getting colder, it surely rained often, but they were, more or less used to it. They must have been excited, too, knowing they had only to cross the Teton Pass, and then they would be on the Snake River, which they were sure would be like the rivers they were used to, and soon have canoes and be down the Snake to the Columbia and Fort Astoria in a matter of days, at most a few weeks.

We were a bit further north than the Hunt Party would have seen, but the scenery would have been close to the same. The buffalo were plentiful where we were, as were the antelope. If you look closely at the photos of the buffalo, you may see the antelope playing in the background. They are the light colored dots. I stood on the highway to take these pictures with my little telephoto. There must have been 50 or so of us who crossed the road to take pictures, and we must have been a good 100 feet or more away from the nearest buffalo, still, the Rangers drove by and made us all cross to the far side of the road. I don't know why they thought that would make us safer, but they were pretty adamant, wore badges, carried weapons and ticket books, and along came that discretion bit again. They were kind enough; however, to wait until most of us had finished taking pictures before running us off. (Buffalo are extremely territorial, and are wild, and one should not get too close to them. They have been known to charge, gore, and toss tourists who were in what they considered their territory.)

White Flower

Purple Flower

We were in Jackson's Hole on a 'non-special' time (no big shindigs going on) and still had a hard time finding a room. The first place we stopped was not only full, but the desk clerk got on the phone and tracked a nice room down for us. One of the few vacancies in town. We stayed at an older motel, The Virginian, but the room was nice and clean. And the bar was not only well stocked, but the music was low enough no one had to yell to carry on a conversation ;-)

Red Flower (seeds?)
Because the Expedition crossed the Teton Pass (at the southern end of the Tetons), they would not have seen the mountains as shown here (just North of Jackson). Even so, what they saw must have been intimidating and wondrous, and beautiful, though as cold as they were, and as tired as they were, I doubt they saw much of the beauty, instead I'm guessing they saw an obstacle to get over, through, and beyond.
Yellow Flower

The flowers must have been even brighter and more colorful for them than they were for us. As you can tell by the captions, I was a botany major—not!

Close Up of Yellow Flower
A joyous heart makes even the most onerous work go faster. It is, perhaps, a good thing they did not have Google Maps to show them how mistaken they were in their reckoning. Then, again, had they had Google Maps, they may have taken a somewhat better route. What do you think? Were they better off exploring unknown (to them) territory? Happy in their ignorance, so to speak? Personally, I'm glad I had an all-wheel drive car, and (mostly) paved highways and byways. ;-) Oh, and motels with hot and cold running water!

Next week: The Mad River