Monday, January 28, 2013

Author Charlene Raddon Discusses Pioneer Homes

Please help me welcome my guest, author Charlene Raddon, who will tell us everything we’ve wanted to know about pioneer sod homes. Read all the way through to find out about her special giveaway.
Homes of the Pioneers
sod house
Sod House
Dugout, 1850-1920 — Dugout dwellings were, of course, partially subterranean, dug either into level ground--up to approximately six feet deep--or, more commonly, into a hillside, preferably south-facing, to capture sun in the winter. Floor dimensions of 12’x 12’ were common. A wall of log, earth, stone, or sometimes brick was sometimes built above ground around the perimeter, high enough to provide adequate head room. The roof might be flat, sloped, or a have a shallow-pitched gable. The roof consisted of flat boards or heavy wood poles spaced evenly as rafters. Willows or other saplings were placed between poles and covered with straw or bundles of brush. A thick layer of dirt made the final layer. Such a roof did little good in heavy rain, and often caved in, especially if livestock was allowed to roam freely on top of the roof.
single-cell house
Single-Cell House
Single-Cell, 1847-1910—A single-cell house is a single square or rectangle unit not subdivided into rooms. It may be one, one and a half, or two stories tall, and is sometimes called the “square cabin” or “hall house,” an English form found in all sections of the United States.
Double-Cell, 1847-90 — The double-cell house has two square or roughly square units arranged axially, one, one and a half, or two stories tall, usually with a façade having two front doors and either two or four symmetrical windows. Chimneys were at the gable ends or in the center of the house.
Hall-Parlor, 1847-1910 —The hall-parlor house consists of a single square room (the hall) with a smaller room serving as the best room (parlor) attached to the side. Though one room deep, there may be one, one and a half, or two floors. The internal plan is always asymmetrical, but a characteristic three-or five-bay symmetrical façade masks the imbalance. Chimneys stood either internally or at the gable ends.
Central-pass-dwellilng (1)
Central Passage House
Central Passage, 1847-1900—A central-passage house is a modification of the hall-parlor type, with a passage or hallway (usually containing a staircase) between two square or roughly square rooms. One, one-and-a-half, and two-story examples of the house have been recorded, and both three-and five-bay forms are common (bays are window or door openings). From the outside, the placement of internal chimneys flanking the central hall identifies it as this type of house.
Pair House, 1853-90— The pair house has a distinctive three-room-wide floor plan. It differs from the central-passage type by the central room being more than a passageway. Usually it is either the kitchen or the living room. This one also was built with one, one and a half and two stories, with either gable-end or internal chimneys. The paired internal chimneys (more widely spaced than central-passage chimneys) identify it as a pair house. Usually has three or five bays.
Double Pile, 1847-80— The double-pile house was two rooms deep, a regional modification of the Georgian detached house (which has two rooms on either side of a long central passage.) Other double-pile forms extend the hall parlor, pair house, and double-cell types one unit to the rear.
Side Passage/Entry Hall, 1847-1920— This house has a square or rectangular plan with an entrance passage on one side of the main floor, giving the house a distinctive asymmetrical appearance. The side-passage house is one and a half or two stories and was used in styles ranging from the Greek Revival to the Prairie School. The side-passage form originated as an 18th-century variant of the Georgian detached house—two rooms on either side of a central passage.
Saltbox, 1847-70— The saltbox is defined mainly by its roof shape rather than its plan. This house has a two-story front section and a one-story extension, or outshut, to the rear. The entire house is covered by a long sloping roof, with a continuous, unbroken roofline, giving it the shape of an old-fashioned salt storage box.
Temple Form, 1847-75—The temple-form house has its entrance in the narrower side of the house, usually under the gable end of the roof. These houses may multiple storied, and may use different floor plans, including the double-cell and side-passage. There may be wings on one or both sides. By 1850, several new types, such as the cross-wing and cruciform, were becoming important new forms.
Cross Wing, 1880-1910— The cross-wing house consists of two wings placed at right angles so the floor plan resembles a “T” or an “L.” The stairway is often situated in the side wing. Usually one and a half stories tall, although some are two stories. Smaller one-story examples were often called simply “T-cottages.
Shotgun House, 1875-1910— The shotgun house is narrow, one story tall, one room wide, and two or more rooms deep.  The narrow gable end faces the street and typically contains a single entryway and window.  Each room is placed behind the other in single file, with no hallway.  The roof ridge is perpendicular to the street.
Char portrait 2009smer
Charlene Raddon
I hope you found this blog informative and useful. Please leave a comment and your contact information for a chance to win my soon-to-be released e-book, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, in which the heroine lives in a dugout she dug herself with a broken shovel after her home was washed away in a flash flood. January 24 was the release date for this book.

Find Charlene at
Find her books at,,, and other e-book stores.
Thank you, Charlene! Readers, do leave a comment and your contact info to be entered  into a drawing for a copy of Charlene’s latest book, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, and a $5 gift certificate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

What, you may ask, is a blog hop? It’s a way that readers can discover new authors they may not see in their local bookstore. You’ll get information about me, what I’m working on now, and FATAL FORTUNE, the first book in my Lottie Baldwin mystery series, of which reviewer Nikki Andrews wrote, “Fatal Fortune is an engrossing read, replete with the intricate web of small-town connections and an understanding of what drives people to extreme actions. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.” Also see links below to other authors you might like to check out.

In this particular hop, I will answer ten questions about my current book and work in progress, as well as some insights into the writing process, from characters and inspiration to plotting and other decisions. I hope you enjoy it! Leave a comment to share your thoughts and questions.

I’d like to thank fellow authors Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton for tagging me to participate. Here’s a little information about them and their books.

Sisters Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton have co-authored more than 40 novels and currently write three mystery series. The sisters, who live in Kansas, are drawn to out of the way places.  Inspired by the rugged mountains of Wyoming and Colorado, they find the lonely, high country region a perfect setting for their novels.

WHISPERS OF THE STONES is the newest entry in the High Country series.  They also write the archaeological Ardis Cole series and the Pre-Columbian mystery series. They have traveled to exotic places to create background for these series.

WHISPERS OF THE STONES: Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds 'Bartering Bill' Garr murdered at his rural antique store. Only one item is missing -- a rare artifact believed to be the Pedro Mummy. First discovered in a cave in Wyoming, the Pedro Mummy was reported missing in the 1950s. Dr. Seth Talbot, newly arrived in town, has put out a fifteen-thousand-dollar reward for any information on the mummy, hoping that modern technology will prove his theory that a tiny race of people actually existed: one the Shoshones call the Nimerigar, or Little People.  As he investigates, McQuede finds himself is drawn into an elaborate hoax that threatens his career and places him in grave danger.

The blog for Vickie and Loretta is “Writing Tips and Fiction” at

Here are my answers to the ten questions I told you about:

1: What is the title of your book? My book is called FATAL FORTUNE, the first in the Lottie Baldwin mystery series.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I saw a news item about a psychic who helped the police find missing children. I wondered what would happen if a psychic lived in a place where her special talents were scorned. Would she go after the criminal herself?

3: What genre does your book come under? I’d call it a cozy mystery with paranormal overtones.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie

Lottie would be played by a young Joan Blondell. She looks the part, and would be a perfect fit for sassy, independent Lottie.


Harlan would be played by a young Robert Redford. He’s got a great sense of humor, and has no trouble being strong when it counts.


5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? When Lottie Baldwin’s best friend’s husband disappears, Lottie uses her tarot cards to find him, despite the danger.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher,
or represented by an agency? FATAL FORTUNE is published by Tirgearr Publishing, a small independent publisher.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I worked on it, off and on, for a couple of years.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I like to think Lottie is unique, but she feels like a cross between Katherine Hepburn in “Bringing Up Baby” and Jane Seymour in “Live and Let Die.”

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? I became interested in the tarot, and after buying a deck of tarot cards and learning a bit about them, I thought it would be fun to write a character with psychic talents, who uses the cards to solve mysteries.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? FATAL FORTUNE is set in a fictitious small town in North Dakota, a state that’s not over-used in fiction.

To check out FATAL FORTUNE for yourself, click here:

Here is some info on another terrific author you’ll definitely want to read.

Vonda Sinclair’s favorite indulgent pastime is exploring Scotland, from Edinburgh to the untamed and windblown north coast. She also enjoys creating hot, Highland heroes and spirited lasses to drive them mad. She is a past Golden Heart finalist and Laurie award winner. She lives with her amazing and supportive husband in the mountains of North Carolina where she is no doubt creating another Scottish story.

Vonda is working on her upcoming release, My Daring Highlander. Her last release was My Brave Highlander: A man long believed dead, Dirk MacKay returns home to a den of murderous conspirators in Durness, Scotland. Along the icy trail north, he rescues Lady Isobel MacKenzie from a snowstorm. He would never steal the neighboring chief's bride, would he? The tantalizing lady fires up his passions, testing his willpower and honor at every turn, even as some of his own clansmen plot his downfall.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Happy reading!