Fashion Terms New And Old

While I once blogged a part of this blog elsewhere, I’ve added a bonus to this one by listing terms old and new for all sorts of clothing like coats, pants, hats, shoes, skirts etc. This makes for a lot of information. Even though I couldn’t possibly cover everything, I think you’ll find lots of useful details here.

Clothing and its condition says as much about our characters as they do on real people.

The trick to writing the description of clothing so it doesn’t sound like a fashion magazine isn’t easy.


When ever possible, let clothing and the character’s appearance leak into the scene.That is, the reader can see the character but the description doesn’t interfere with the action of the story

Example: She sat, smiled and nodded her head. Beneath the table, her damp fists crushed the delicate silk of her evening gown while her kid boots tapped a rapid rhythm. This doesn’t sound like a description of clothing at all because it shows that not only is she’s dressed well, but also that she’s nervous.

 Clothing descriptions in an action scene is not the norm because detailed descriptions slow the action. There are exceptions, specifically if the costume has a part in the scene.

Example: Set up: In my book Love and Fortune the heroine is a distraction while a group of Yankees soldiers surround a band of weary Rebels. Thus, her attire is important to this scene.

 The dancer was one with the music … She raised softly curved arms, and a myriad of gold bangles jangled to the rhythm of the mounting beat. Only her green feline eyes were visible above the diaphanous red silk draped loosely about her head and across the lower half of her face. A red peasant blouse slipped down one shoulder, sparking the imaginations of her hushed, gray-uniformed audience. Inky tresses swirled about her undulating hips, hips that invited a man’s caress. … She pivoted abruptly and dashed into the oblivion of the night. Gradey started to rise, but the clicking of rifles being cocked and aimed froze him in place.

 Then of course, there’s times when a character arrives on stage, requiring a quick description of their appearance and little more. For those times, the word lists below come in handy.

Knowing the exact name of a fashion saves words and gives the reader an instant picture: Hobble-skirt, mini skirt, peasant blouse, cravat, kid gloves, pea coat, dickey etc. These terms might also describe the era when the story takes place.

Note: Don’t waste time and words describing an unimportant character who makes only one appearance in the book. Lengthy descriptions imply the character is important to the story.

Below is a list of my fashion terms for women and men. Keep in mind that descriptions of men’s attire should lend themselves to masculinity and durability with a bit of suave thrown into the mix.

By themselves these terms sound like they were taken right out of a fashion magazine. Their beauty is more evident when they’re used to trim a wordy description to a concise expression.

Don’t forget to look over the Definitions Lists at the end of the blog.

General Fashion Terms and Phrases for Women

Accented with

Accentuated waist


Aesthetic quality

Bold detail

Characterized by


Clean lines


Cut generously

Daring creation

Dazzling sparkles

Deep pleats

Delicate and lacy

Displayed her assets

Dominate stripe


Eccentric designs

Essential elements


Figure fattering

Fitted, tailored to fit

Flair for the spectacular


Floaty and sheer


Form fitting

Frame the face

French cut panties

Fresh, spring colors


Graceful silhouette

Great daring and originality


Harsh tones

Height of propriety

Highlighted by

Hot little off-the-shoulder number

Indulge herself with

Latest craze Lavished with ruffles/lace

Lively print

Luxurious silk

Made a statement

Masterfully rendered in

Mode of dress

Modified the hemline

Motif of *** swirled around the hem

Noble simplicity


Ostentatious extravagance

Outlined – figure, hem, sleeves

Piping detail

Plunging neckline

Portray the rich variety in design

Prestige of the label


Prudish length


Richly decorated


Rounded collar

Sashed at the waist

Savvy cut

Shabby chic


Shapely Profile

Silky scarves


Slim lines

Soft, supple

Spectacular style


Stylistic mélange


Thin as a Vail of tears




Velvety soft


Terms and Phrases for Men’s Fashion

Adds endless fashion mile

Black, a logical choice for man of noir

Bold colors for bolder men

Charting a new coarse in men’s tailoring



Crew neck

Cushioned inner soles

Dressy but dashing



Expensive masculine leather

Sporty elegance

Geared to a man’s needs

Generously cut


Handsomely tailored

Heavy duty


Intricately tooled


Long-range wear

Look sharp, dynamic

Moves from boardroom to beyond

Nattily unkempt

Necessary wardrobe staple

Powerful shoulders

Prerequisite for the outdoor man

Relaxed fit

Sharp front pleats

Step out on the town in these


Comfort you never want to take off

A tie to set off the strong lines of dark suit


Two great versatile pieces

Unsurpassed comfort

Well groomed

Wrinkle resistant

Less Than Presentable

All flash no dash

Beauty blight


Blowzy over-done

Streetwalker chic

Boots with newspaper stuffed inside to cover the holes in the soles

Cleaned his boot toes on his trouser legs

Clothes painted on her

Donned grubbies to do the yard work

Dress gone limp in the heat

Dressed like an unmade bed

Dressed like he’s fleeing a fire

Ensemble clashes

Feet were miserably shod

Flamboyant colors clashed with her hair

Foul-smelling socks


Gowns cut to see level

High water pants, flood pants

Housedress that looked like a slipcover

Huge hat with a hectic array of feathers, bird’s nest and bird

If she’s class, it doesn’t show on her back

It’s called the tacky cut

Jeans deliberately torn and frayed

Misshapen straw hat perched at a jaunty angle

Motley hat tilted over one eye


Old mossback cares nothing for fashion

Poured into her jeans

Resembles Rummage Sal

Scandalous lack of decency

Seedy taste

Shabby as a hobo

Shows more of her self than she does style

So nondescript as to go unnoticed

Tattered cast-offs, patched hand-me-downs

Teen uniform of blue jeans, scruffy T-shirt, dirty sneakers and no socks


Vermin ridden/lice fleas/bedbugs

Walking billboard for

Whites that looked gray

Wretched condition of

Getting Dressed



Bundle up




Costumed herself

Doll up


Dress fit to kiss

Dress to the nines

Dude up



Get beautiful

Get glizted

Getting ready


Gown up


Gussy up


Make ready

Outfit himself



Rig up


Slicked up

Slip on or into

Snaz up

Spiff up

Spruce up

Suit up



Wrapped in

General Terms of Clothing

General Alternative Names for Clothing



Best bib and tucker






Evening dress, wear






















Suit of clothes

Suit up












Blazer – jacket tailored similar to man’s jacket; worn for semi-casual occasions by men and women

Bolero – short jacket ending just above the waist; worn by men and women

Burnoose – cape or cloak with a hod worn by Moors, Abrabs etc

Capote – hooded cape; in 1775, a woman’s mantle enveloping the wearer from head to toe; in 1804, man’s mantle with a collar and a wide shoulder-cape; a wide cloak generally in heavy cloth with or without a hood, appearing as part of military and college uniforms and some civilian uniforms

Cutaway coat – formal wear for a man, some with swallow-tail or tails

Dolman – woman’s cape-like coat; woman’s coat with sleeves wide at the armholes and narrower writs

Greatcoat/overcoat – early18th century English surcoat/overcoat with a flat collar topped with smaller collar that could be raised to protect face; in France called the redingote

Mackinaw coat – short coat of thick wool and often in plaid design

Manteau – woman’s cape or cloak

Mantle – wrap, cape, sleeveless cloak

Nehru jacket – lightweight Indian jacket with oriental style stand-up collar; popular in the 1960s

Pea coat – thick woolen coat of short length worn by sailors in winter

Parka – winter hooded jacket usually coming just below hips

Pelisse – long cloak with arm openings, worn by women

Raccoon coat – long, bulky coat of raccoon fur worn by both sexes in 1920s

Raincoat – mackintosh, oilskins, slicker, tarpaulin

Rebozon – Mexican; colorful shawlRedingote – (1)Adapted for women about 1785; lighter unlined version of the man’s redingote; worn open down the front almost like a gown. (2) Men’s double-breasted long overcoat; wide-cut collared coat worn for riding and traveling; appeared about 1725; in 19th century it replaced the coat for town wear; the front panels were in one piece instead of being cut like those of the habit

Safari jacket – usually khaki in color; a hip length jacket with large front pockets and belted at waist

Serape – Mexican, colorful blanket with a hole in center for the head to form an armless coat

Stadium – long coat often of water repellent material with a drawstring hood and large pockets; sometimes the material appears to be quilted; worn for observing sports events

Surcoat – (1) Man’s close-fitting overcoat (2) Coat worn over armor in medieval times

Trench coat – long overcoat or rain coat buttoning down the front and belted around the waist; usually associated with a detective’s wearTuxedo – men’s semi-formal wear

Ulster – long, loose-fitted overcoat

Windbreaker – lightweight nylon jacket; usually zips up the front and often has a drawstring hood


Cravet -band or scarf worn around the neck mostly by men; 19th century

Dickey – detachable collar for women’s blouse; sometimes a fake turtle neck worn by men and women

Eton collar – wide stiff collar worn with a short jacket

Fichu – woman’s triangular kerchief worn around the neck, ends crossed or otherwise brought together over the bosom

Guimpe/chemisette/jabot/tucker – woman’s neck ornament of lace etc.; worn with a dress having a low-cut neckline or openwork bodice

Man’s neck tie – cravat, kerchief, neckcloth, neckerchief, ascot, foulard, four-in-hand (tied in a slip knot with the ends hanging), Windsor tie (silk tied in a loose double bow or tight double knot

Muffler – scarf worn about the neck by men and women for winter warmth

Peter pan collar – short collar with rounded ends on a woman’s dress, blouse, etc.


Ruff – collar of gathered material, popular in the 16th century; wearer appeared to have no neck

Stock – collar fitting the neck like a band


Elbow gloves – women’s full glove reaching from hand to elbow; worn with formal attire

Gauntlet – long glove that partially covers the forearm; medieval armored glove

Kid glove made of leather from goat skin

Mitt – long glove, worn by women, covering the forearm and main part of the hand and extending, sometimes, over part of the fingers

Mitten – glove with special space for the thumb only

Mousquetaire – glove with long closed wrist


Bell bottom – slacks fitting the thigh closely and flaring at the bottom reminiscent of the old sailor uniforms; popular teen fashion in the 1960s and 70s

Blue jeans – denim trousers with rivets, snaps and zippers

Bermuda shorts – thigh length pants worn by men and women

Capri pants or clam diggers or see pedal pushers – ending just below the knees, usually for women and girls; enjoyed wide popularity in 1940s and 50s and regained popularity in the late 90s

Chinos – khaki-colored sporty slacks worn by men at first and later by women as well

Cords – trousers made of corduroy

Culottes – feminine shorts that give the appearance of a short skirt in the front

Cutoffs – trousers, usually jeans, cut off at or above the knee to make shorts

Ducks – made of ducking material

Hip-huggers – women’s bell-bottom pants or shorts designed to fit below the waist line; popular in the 1960s

Jodhpurs – for riding; wide through the thigh, decreasing to a narrow calf

Knickers, knee breeches – young boys pants, wide through the thigh and ending at or just below the knee; usually worn with tall stockings; worn in 19th century through the 1930s

Overalls – trousers with a bib attached at the front, held up with straps that extend from the back waist up and over the shoulder

Pantaloons – wide at the thigh and ending at the knee or just below

Peg tops – wide at the hip, narrow at the ankle

Plus fours – wide knickers worn for sports

Rompers, jumpers – worn by toddler; often resemble men’s overallys or are a one-piece outfit with pant legs and sleeves, sometimes the feet too

Shorts – casual summer wear for men and women, ending from just below the underwear to below the knee depending on style (short-shorts, brumudas, walking shorts, etc)

Slacks – generic term for trousers for men and women

Ski pants or sitrrup pants – stretch pants with straps or loops that fit around the instep or the feet to keep them from riding up; worn by both sexes

Stovepipe – long pants with close fitting straight legs

Tights – tight leggings with the foot sewn into them

Toreador – Spanish bullfighter’s pants, fitting snugly below the knees; often used as a variation on the modern capri pants


Bodystocking -one piece, form-fitting underwear resembling long johns only made with see-through and or stretch material; also called a cat suit or a type of leotard

Bloomers -underpants worn by women; loose and gather at the knee; 19th century version had an open crotch area

Body suit – stretch material that hugs the torso; snap crotch; sometimes the top half is used as a blouse while the bottom is covered by slacks or a skirt; usually worn by women; sometimes by male dancers

Boxers – male underwear that looks like shorts and are worn under trousers

Brassier, bra – in present-day fashion, a band of material with cups for supporting a women’s breasts, some with underwiring; in the 1920s it was very tight to compress the breasts for the shapeless fashions; by 1932 it was designed to separate and support the breasts. Term bra was used by 1937

Briefs – male or female underwear that hugs the crotch and usually elastic at legs and waist; BVD’s is a popular brand name that has become synonymous with briefs

Bust bodice – introduced in 1889; device to support the breasts and worn above the corset; usually made of white coutil, with side boning and laced front and back; some made of cambric, nainsook, longcloth, surah or woven silk or lisle

Bust improvers – about 1883-1896; worn under the camisole; by 1887 they were in the form of cups with wire structure; in early 1890s pads could be worn to enhance the size of the bustline

Bustle – wire framework, cushion, etc to make a woman’s skirt stand out in the rear; popular during the antebellum and Civil war period;framework was collapsible so a woman could sit

Camisole – loose underbodice; under blouse; appeared in the 1840s and worn over the corset

Chemise – a kind of slip or long undershirt worn by women in different styles and lengths through the centuries


Combination union suit – one-piece undergarment (top and trousers); long underwear worn by men

Corset cover – worn over the corset, sometimes as a waist

Corset, foundation girdle, stays -supports and forms women’s figure in different styles throughout the times; term corset used referring to undergarment since the 1500s

Crinoline – petticoat of stiff material worn under a full skirt (before, during and slightly after the Civil War)

Drawers, underdrawers – undergarment in style of short trousers; at first, two legs sewn to a waist band, the front crotch area left open for convenience; worn by most women by 1830s;in modern times a generic term for male or female underwear

Farthingale – appeared about 1545 in Spain (verdingale); a petticoat reinforced by graduated hoops of cane, whalebone or wire; cone shape resembling that of the Victorian cage-crinoline

Garters – elastic leg bands used to hold up stockings at the thigh

Girdle – woman’s foundation garment used to smooth and shape the figure; comes in different styles and lengths

Long johns – warm, men’s underwear; sometimes one piece, sometimes two

Pantalettes/pantalets – another term for women’s drawers; worn in the 1800s

Petty pants – much like pantalettes but cut narrower and crotch was not left open; worn during the 1960s in place of a slip; could be worn under slacks and dresses

Shift – old fashion term for chemise

Shimmy – colloquial for chemise

Slip – worn under woman’s dress for modesty

Teddy – one piece undergarment, combining top and loose drawers; snap or hook crotch, sometimes worn as night time garment in place of a nightgown.

Under shirt – worn by men and women, with or without sleeves under clothing for modesty and warmth

Unmentionables – slang; woman’s undergarments


Culottes – skirt made with trouser-like separation; a front panel over the gives the look of a skirt

Crinoline – hoop skirt popular in the Ante-bellum South

Dirndl – full skirt that has a tight waist

Gored – skirt with multiple flaring panels

Hip-hugger – low slung waistline usually found on a mini skirt (skirt worn above the knees) during the 1960s

Hobble skirt – long skirt narrowing at the bottom as to impede walking

Hoop skirt – crinoline; civil War fashion; a hoop was often sewn into the hem to hold the skirt out from the body

Kilt – short, plaited skirt worn by men in Scottish Highlands

Lava-lava – short skirt of printed calico worn in Samoa etc

Maxie – ankle-length skirt, full or straight-lined; became popular in the 1960s

Midi -claf length skirt, usually straight line; became popular in the 60s

Pannier – puffed skirt; cage used to give a wide hipped look

Peplum – short skirts attached to a jacket at waist

Sarong – wrap skirt; Hawaiian native style skirt; may be long or short

Wrap-around – skirt that wraps around the body, overlapping in front and tying or buttoning at the waist


 Balloon – parachute or the Lunardi (after the French balloonist); worn in late 1700s; large and elaborately trimmed with layers of lace and ruching; made of straw, beaver and felt with trimmings in ribbons, bows and feathers

Beanie – brimless, round skullcap worn by children and college freshmen; those worn by children sometimes sported a whirlie fan on top

Beret – small, round hat of cloth, usually worn at a jaunty angle on the head by men or women

Bowler – English term for derby; stiff felt with round crown

Breton – woman’s hat; brim turned up all around

Busby – high fur hat worn by hussars, artillery men etc in British army

Calash – woman’s bonnet or hood; calache or calash was popularized in 1772; lightweight and stiffened with cane or whalebone; constructed with ribbon, it could hide the face; bowl shape with a ruffle around the neck that touched the shoulders; usually worn for walking parties; revived in the 1830s and finally disappeared in the 1850s

Chapeau – man’s top hat introduced in 19th century in Paris; tall crowned, it was worn for formal occasions; made of silk

Cloche – introduced 1920s; silk hat with small brim that fit down over the head and low on forehead

Coif – worn under a veil by nuns, kind of a skullcap

Coolie – Chinese hat of straw or bamboo; wide brimmed and coming to a point at the top; worn mostly by peasantry

Coonskin cap – comprised of raccoon fur and the raccoon’s tail; Davy Crockett hat

Derby, bowler – (slang—kelly) First worn in Britain;small round man’s hat with narrow brim and sported hard round crown; in US known as derby; became fashionable about 1862 for town wear

Dunce cap – cone shaped hat worn by misbehaving student

Fedora -mman’s felt hat with a creased crown and snap brim

Fez – Turkish felt cap in shape of cone; introdced in 1930s

Homburg – man’s felt dress hat with a creased crown and stiff, ribbon-bound rolled brim; first worn about 1901

Madcap – created a stir in the 1930s; knitted tube that could be molded into differing shapes

Mantilla – velvet, lace or the like or a kind of veil covering the head and falling down upon the shoulders

Mobcap – frilled cap formerly worn by women of the 19th century; merely a length of cloth, usually tulle, that covered the hair

Panama – man’s hat fashionable at end of 19th century and beginning ot the 20th; made at first of exotic leaves; later of finely-worked poplar wood; soft straw hats with rounded crowns

Pillbox – woman’s hat introduced in 1930s; Halston created a pill box for Jackie Kennedy

Pork pie – man’s felt hat with round, flat crown and nap brim

Sombrero – Mexican straw or felt hat with high crown and broad, upturned brim

Sou’wester – new England fisherman’s hat with high crown and broad brim that is longer in the back to keep rain off the neck

Snood – woman’s hat in form of netlike bag and worn on the back of the head to hold up the hair

Sum-o’shanter, tam – cap of Scottish orgin with a top that extends over the headband; often decorated with a center tassel

Tarboosh – Mohammedan man’s cap of red cloth or felt, decorated with a long tassel; similar to a fez

Toque – woman’s hat with a soft crown and either very small brim or none at all

Tuque – Canadian knit cap

Wimple – woman’s head covering hidding the entire head, the chin and the neck formerly in general use (Medieval), now used by nuns


Boat – canvas shoe with rubber sole that won’t slip on wet slippery surfaces; sometimes a man’s casual loafer type shoe with a rubber sole

Blucher – a kind of half boot

Brogan – strong, heavy or coarse low or high shoe

Buskin – high shoe reaching the calf or beyond; half boot

Clog – shoe with a thick, usually wooden, sole

Cowboy boot – leather boot with high or low shaft to protect the leg; square or pointed toes

Espadrille – rope-soled canvas shoe; sometimes lacing around the ankles; sometimes appearing as a sandal

Flats – woman’s low-heeled shoe; can be casual or dressy

Gaiter – old fashion shoe with elastic on the sides instead of laces or buttons; a kind of high shoe

Galoshes – waterproof boots pulled over shoes

Go-go boots – a short boot with shaft reaching a few inches above the ankle; usually were white color with the mini skirt; enjoyed popularity in the 1960s

Hobnail boot or shoe – soles protected by short nails with large heads

Loafer, shuffler – slip on shoe, slipper; another name is penny loafer

Moccasin – leather slip-on shoe with no heel; often with fringe and beads and originally worn by American Indians

Mule – woman’s house slipper that leaves the back of the heel exposed

Oxford – low shoe with laces or buttons

Pump – mlight low shoe original worn by dancers

Sabot – wooden shoe worn in France, Holland, Belgium etc.

Saddle shoe – light-colored oxford style shoe of leather with darker saddle over the top

Scuff – slipper without a heel; for house wear (see mule)

Sling backs – woman’s shoe with an open heel, held on foot with an ankle strap

Sneaker – soft shoe made for sports; usually made of canvas and rubber, sometimes with leather upper; often called running shoe (tennis shoe)

Thongs – open foot rubber or leather sandals held onto foot with a small strap between the big and second toes.

Wellington boot – man’s boot with a loose top, the front of which is higher than the back; similar boot worn under the trouser leg


Aigrette – a spray of feathers or gems worn on a hat or as hair ornament

Alb – white garment for church service worn by a clergyman

Applique – cutting out designs on fabrics and embroidering or sewing them onto a garment for decorative purposes

Bandbox – box holds collars, hats

Bandeau – a band or fillet for the hair

Basque – woman’s blouse with a tight-fitting waist, with or without short skirt or peplum attached (19th century)

Batiste – semi-sheer lightweight cotton fabric with silky texture and a silky look

Bertha – wide collar often made of lace

Bombazine – fine twilled fabric of silk and worsted or cotton; often dyed black for mourning dress

Calico – inexpensive coarse cotton fabric with a plain wave and usually a printed pattern

Cambric – close weave; stiff cotton fabric; slightly glossy

Canonicals, clericals – clergyman’s official dress

Cashmere – soft, light-weight, smooth material in a twill weave; wool or cotton or silk warp; usually plain colors (often used for winter dress in 19th century)

Cassock – close-fitting garment extending to the ground, worn by certain members of the clerby

Chambray – a cotton material always made with a colored and a white filling which produces a grayed effect (like a man’s blue work shirt)

Chantilly lace – delicate lace of silk or linen having scrolled or floral design

Chatelaine – ornamental hook, clasp or brooch worn at a woman’s waist having a chain or ribbon etc attached for keys, trinkets, purse, watch or sewing needs (medieval women wore chatelaines with castle keys attached)

Crepe De Chine – fine soft crepe fabric

Cummerbund – broad pleated sash worn on a dress with drop waistline in the 19th century; pleated fabric belt worn by men with formal attire

Damasse silk – brocaded silk material

Dandify – dressing of male in excessively neat and foppish manner; dapper, well-groomed, spruced up, dapper Dan, decked-out, dressed in high arrogance

Décolletélow neckline on woman’s garb

Dimity – fine, sheer cotton fabric with mall cords or groups of small cords arranged in stripes or cross bars

Dolman – long robe worn by Turks

Dolman sleeves -wide at the armhole and tight at the wrist

Dropped fly – flap on the front of men’s trousers popular up to the 1840s when a standard front fly replaced it.

Ensemble – woman’s outfit of clothing and parts of which go together or harmonize

Epaulette – shoulder ornament (as often seen on a soldier’s uniform)

Faille – ribbed silk fabric; resembling taffeta in look and stiffness

Garibaldi – full-bodied shirtwaist or blouse worn by women and often cinched with a belt

Haberdashery – men’s clothing; suits; sometimes men’s stores were called a haberdashery

Henrietta – fine woolen cloth

Invest – dress or cloth in the badges and decorations of office, rank etc.

Kimono – characteristic of Japanese; wide-sleeved outer garment like a wrap robe, often flowing to the floor

Lambrequin – scarf worn over a hat to protect against rain, wind and sun

Linsey-woolsey – wool and linen fabric

Livery – uniform of a male servant

Man who pays inordinate attention to his person – Beau Brummell, coxcomb, dandy, dude, fop, jack-a-dandy, popinjay, toff, buck

Negligee – informal dress of a female, usually night gown and matching robe (peignoir)

Organdy – sheer, stiff, very lightweight cotton, transparent and not durable

Pagoda sleeve – bell-shaped sleeve

Panniers – underskirts stretched over metal hoops; round at first then dome; appeared about 1718-20 and remained in fashion under various forms until French Revolution; middle of century the one-piece pannier was replaced by two pieces, one on each hip; by 1750 only half-panniers were worn

Panoply – complete suit of armor; comlete and magnificent ornamental dress

Percale – cotton fabric with a plain weave; firm construction, dull finish

Pinafore – female child’s apron covering most of the dress, sleeveless, and often with ruffles around armholes and a sash that ties at the back

Ramie – cloth similar to linen, made of ramie fiber; strong, fine and durable

Sackcloth – clothing worn in token penitence

Sari – chief outer garment of Hindu women; made of single long piece of material, usually silk or cotton and wound around the body with one end loose to cover the head.

Sateen – heavy mercerized cotton fabric; not as soft as silk

Swiss – a fine thin cotton fabric of loose weave; dotted swigs, Swiss muslin with dots of heavier yarn

Taffeta -mplain closely woen, rahter stiff silk fabric with dull luster

Tarlatan – cotton, loose construction; used for fancy dress costumes and decorative purposes and for petticoats

Toga – loose garment of ancient Romans’ material is clasped on one shoulder while the other goes bared; long and flowing

Toilette – female bathing and combing of hair (grooming); articles used for purposes of grooming

Trousseau – bride’s outfits of clothing and other personal possessions as jewelry, linens etc.

Vestment – cover the body as clothing

Vestry – room in a church where church garments are kept

Voile – cotton, silk and wool, a fabric made of fine, hard-twisted yarns with a plain weave and open mesh; sheer; used for summer clothing

Wardrobe – the sum of one’s clothing; a cabinet where clothing is kept (closet)

Weeds – mourning clothing

Wraps – out-door clothing; cold weathe










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Day, Night and In Between – Descriptions For Time of Day

Sunrise with duck by Sharla

Yeah, writers could just tell readers what time of day it is and sometimes it’s more expedient. But! It “is” telling and one of the first rules of writing is “show” don’t tell.

When it comes to time of the day, it’s as easy to show as it is to tell, so why not show?

Over the years I’ve collected words and phrases to inspire “showing” over telling. And sure, I have a thesaurus and a synonym finder too. But there’s times when showing the time of day isn’t enough. Sometimes writers  

Sunset on the lake by Sharla

need descriptions to do double duty, like conveying a mood/atmosphere. In the list below, you’ll find a few phrases that convey a mood. Find more ideas by using a synonym finder.

I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs but it bares repeating: Definitions can be helpful with descriptions too. Take a look at my list of definitions below and you’ll see what I mean.

Think Poetic!

Remember poetry is an excellent source of descriptive ideas too. You’ve heard of waxing poetic. <g> All jokes aside poets have a talent for description on a totally different level.


Web in dewy holly bush early morning – by sharla

This may seem like a no-brainer but I’ve written these list blogs before and this is the first time it dawned on me! Pictures!

While I’ve left my photography by the way side the past few years, it is still a love of mine, especially nature. And whether or not you take photos, there are plenty to find in books and on the Internet. Find pictures that convey, morning, daytime, evening, etc. Study them and let the fiction writer inside of you visualize descriptive words. 

[The picture above shows dew on a spider web. Since dew appears in the early mornings using a description of this can convey time of day.]

So here are the lists. I hope they inspires your own great ideas. If you have other suggestions please share them with all of us. 

A palette of pinks and purples

Afternoon grew chilly and gray

Awash with the russet glow of sunrise

Balmy spring morning

Bathed in the warmth of the promised daylight

Black texture of the night thinned fractionally

Breath of the morning breeze

Chilly April drizzle

Curled up in the spots of warmth where the morning sunshine dolloped the carpet

Darkness overtook the woodlands

Daybreak, day-peep, sunrise, sunup, aurora, cocklight, crack of dawn, early light, wee hours of the morning.

Deep melon streaked the dusky marine sky

Dim shadows

Down in the copse and owl hooted

Drowsy July day

Face set aglow in the eerie yellow glow of the lantern’s light

Fiery/flaming arrows of crimson shot around the edges of the clouds

Forenoon, foreday, noon, noonday, midday, midmorning

Gas light cast a hazy sulfur circle over the cobblestones

Golden glow of the aging sun

Iridescent rainbow over the water

Mantle of gray

Mist hung around the gas light

Moonbeams walk the night

Moonlight dusted the forest, lending a fairyland quality

Moonlight shimmered on the glazed streets

Morning crept over the land in tones of pewter blue

Mountains appear as jagged bruises against the clair de lune sky.

Mystical moist night air

Night crept up the valley

Night gradually gave way/surrendered to morning

Nightfall, sunset, eventide, vesper, dusk gloaming (gloam/twilight) impending night

Nocturnal creatures took to daytime hideaways

One by one stars winked out

Prairie turned a sullen red

Rainbows over the devastation left below

Shadows slyly creep as I keep vigil

Shank of the afternoon

Sky a smoke color and scented with rain

Sky sagged overhead, so heavy with blue

Soft gray light spilled through

Soon it too surrendered to the night

Stomach growled, signaling lunchtime

Stygian gloom of the late hour

Sun faded into the gray of day’s end

Sun set, leaving behind a gold-touched glow to stain the clouds

Sunlight filtered through the gauzy curtains

The hour that troubled souls wonder the Earth

The hour when courage and strength often lose to fear

Time for the prowling of evil thoughts and the encroachment of nightmares

Tiny dew droplets beaded the grass and glistened like diamonds


Twilight settled on the hills

Under a fat, full moon

Wake-up calls of [a bird perhaps]

Warm and lazy in the sun, a big bumble buzzed flatly among the leaves

Water danced with moonlight

When faceless, shapeless nothings tremble crouch and leer

Wind rose in the uppermost boughs of the

Witching hour

Descriptive Definitions

Crescent moon – in its first or last quarter

Equinox – when night and day are of the same length; the sun crosses the plane of the equator, happens twice a year

Gibbous moon – seen with more than half but not all of the disk illuminated

Greek god of the sun – Apollo

Greek goddess of the dawn – Eos

Greek goddess of the moon – Artemis, Cynthia or Phoebe

Half moon – half illuminated

Harvest moon – full moon about September 22 or 23, the autumnal equinox

Lunar month – about 29 ½ days

Moon on the wane – degrees after a full moon

Old moon – waning moon

Roman goddess of moon – Diana

Roman goddess of the dawn or sunrise – Auroa

Solstice – time twice a year when the sun is farthest North or south of the equator

Summer solstice – beginning of summer, about June 21st

Vernal equinox – beginning of Spring, about March 21st

Waxing moon – increase before the full moon

Winter solstice – beginning of winter about December 22nd


Posted in Word and Phrase lists | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

May Day Baskets – I Remember When

I’m a little late talking about May Day as it’s May 1st today. But because I have so many fond childhood memories of it, I decided to blog about it anyway.

Ask teens today if they plan to celebrate May Day and their eyes glaze over with a blank look. Most have never heard of it at all, at least not it’s true origins.

If they are smart and watch the news they might tell you, that May Day is celebrated in socialist and communistic countries as an International Workers Day. True enough, but so not what I’m talking about.

I had to wonder though, how these socialist and communistic countries came up with the idea of a Workers Day/Labor Day when it comes to May Day. The traditional May Day origins and celebrations had nothing to do with a day of rest for workers.

 Or so I thought.

A light bulb came on while reading up on some brief history blogs about ancient May Day celebrations. May Day was a celebration of the coming spring after a long hard winter. Farm workers, field hands etc took the day off to feast and celebrate in the renewal of life.

It’s not a long stretch then to understand how some modern societies in Europe have turned May Day into a Labor Day celebration on which workers take the day off. My theory proved true when I came upon the above link about International Workers Day.

In America, May 1st was at first chosen to be International Workers’ Day/Labor Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago. Laborers were striking for an 8-hour day. Someone threw a bomb and police commenced firing on the workers killing and wounding several. The above link has more on this.

Then during the Cold War some countries started using May Day to demonstrate their Military strength through parades that included their soldiers and Weapons.

But none of these very serious May Day celebrations have anything to with how I remember May Day as a kid.

Makinge Baskets:

The days before May 1st my sisters and I designed simple but creatively decorated May Baskets. The really nice ones were colorful cone-shaped baskets with doilies pasted to them and with pretty ribbon handles.

Inside we might tuck another doily to help hold flowers and goodies. I was born in Iowa and we didn’t always have many flowers because it was still too cool. Instead we’d draw flowers and cut them out to tuck inside the basket or paste on the outside. My mother usually popped popcorn for the bottom layer of goodies. Next came gum drops, hard candies, maybe homemade cookies. Sometimes we’d make a few baskets in school but mostly we made them at home – the fancier the better!

The fun part was coming home from school on May Day to deliver our baskets. We’d hang the basket handles on the doorknob of a friends house [setting them on a porch made them vulnerable to pets.] Once we made sure the baskets wouldn’t spill, we’d knock on the door, shouting Happy May Day. Then we ran like the dickens.

When our friends came to the door to find the basket, there was of course some major squealing going on. And then they’d chase up the street, trying to catch us. If we were caught, we had to endure their kiss. It was hilarious and lots of fun.

Somehow over the years, this tradition has become lost. I imagine it’s like Halloween, parent worry about some maniac poisoning the candy. We moved my kids to Arizona from Iowa, and my kids came home upset to tell me that they didn’t do May Day in Phoenix and in fact their classmates had no idea what May Baskets were!

I was sad to hear it. Sitting around the table and designing a pretty basket for a special friend was good family fun. My kids still wanted to try it even in Phoenix and they hoped to start a new neighborhood tradition. I came up with some colored Dixie cups for them to decorate and we filled them with goodies. Their friends loved the goodies but didn’t know they were supposed to chase the gifters home and kiss them. Sadly, the following year we were forced to let this simple custom fall into obscurity.

No matter what, I will always remember those similar times, making baskets, filling them up, the hugs and kisses and hilarity.

How about you? Did you every deliver May Day Baskets?

Here are some links about ancient May Day and even May Day Baskets in the US.

 A Forgotten Tradition May Basket Day – This explains May Basket in the US in much the same way I remember them.

May Day In The Middle Ages

Medieval Lifestyle

Make A Basket

Posted in History, HOLIDAYS | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Character Action Verbs and Body Language

 I figured it was about time I offer another meaty blog. Here’s a whopper listing character action verbs and body language verbs.

Body language and plain old action verbs are often interchangeable depending on their setting. 

Example: A character’s body might convulse if they are suddenly sick, having stroke etc. but emotion isn’t necessarily shown by this action. However if a character convulses with laughter, body language is being used to convey extreme amusement.

One thing it’s important to remember is that even if a character action isn’t body language, it should remain descriptive and without wordy sentences.

Example: Joe raced across the busy intersection and skidded to a halt behind the traffic cop VERSUS Joe ran across the intersection and stopped fast behind the traffic cop. Both are correct but the first example is more descriptive and conjures a better movie picture in the readers mind.

Likewise: He got away from the police. versus He eluded the police. There is nothing wrong with the first sentence but “get” verbs are lazy suckers that don’t say much and promote wordy sentences.  I also don’t like the word “away.” It’s a “repeat offender,” that is, it’s highly overused.

The lists below include simple non-emotional actions as well as body language. I’ve used BL after the words and phrases that “definitely” convey emotion.

A few phrases that aren’t marked BL could be body language or not, depending on their setting. 

Some verbs are used more than once to demonstrate their many uses. Have fun. Mix up the phrases and rewrite them to suit your story.

General Body Movements

bent her attention to – BL

boarded up the window

bobbed up for air

body convulsed

body swayed to music – BL

bounced around in the car

braced his arm against the door

car veered to miss the child and collided

cast his line in the lake

cavorted about town with the ladies

child held his crotch and danced a frantic jig – BL

chucked down another swig

clamped his fingers into tender flesh

cleaved the log clean in to

climbed into her clothes

clung to the post for support

cocked his head curiously – BL

corralled the horses

cowered down for warmth – BL

cringed at the thought BL

crisscrossed the country by plane

crowd milled in confusion BL

curled into a ball like a cat

detoured the scoundrel so her brother could

disembarked from the ship

dived into the food like a

dodged the blow

dog-paddled across the pool width

doodled on the phone pad and tapped the

doused his cigar in the bottle of whiskey

dragged his blanket in the dirt

drawing her back against his chest

drifting out of line

drooled spittle

dumped his coffee down the drain

edged closer to him for protection – BL

eluded his pursuers

escaped out the back door

expelled her breath in a whoosh

faltered when caught her arm

fiddled with his keys while he

fidgeted and squirmed – BL

flicking lint off his suit

flinched from his touch – BL

frolicked in the river like a happy – BL

gagged at the smell – BL

glided like a swan across

graceful movements captivated him – BL

halting, awkaward movements – BL

hands folded over her hips, lifting her

hastily stripped the orange peel

hovered above them with malice – BL

hunched over to look shorter – BL

hustled her along the sidewalk

impatient strides forced her to – BL

Hand And Arm Movement

impulsively shed her gown

juggled the books stacked haphazardly in

jumping like a cricket on a hot skillet – BL

just piddlin’ around

left arm curled around her waist

mother appropriated her lipstick from baby’s chubby grasp

nodded vigorously in reply – BL

planted himself in front of her desk

police converged on the

practiced sensual stroll – BL

preened – BL

proceed to give the same languid

propelled her down the hallway

propped his elbow on his knee

puffed a cigar

pulled up short

quick and jerky like unoiled cogs on a wheel – BL

rapped on the door

recoiled in disgust – BL

reconnoitered the hallways

reeled in a fish

reeled in surprise – BL

reeled off balance with the impact of the running child

rested his chin in his palm and looked thoughtful – BL

scarfed down the last biscuit – BL

scratched his hairy belly and yawned – BL

revealed even white teeth to the dentist

rocked back and forth on his heels – BL

rocked in his granny’s chair

roughly dragged the wig off her head – BL

rubbed a hand over his dark stubble

sank into the tub

stuffed her legs into jeans

stumbled over her stray shoe left in the middle of

sucked his thumb – BL

swallowed the disgusting medicine

swung himself up to ride pillion

teetered a second or two before she lost her balance

tossed her hair over her shoulder

trespassed onto her side of the

twitched nervously – BL

vaulted over the fence

wedged herself through the narrow opening

whisked her off to

withdrew from the room

wormed his way between them

applauded the stage actors

arms out, palms he up he begged for – BL

ball joints curved into biceps as he lifted

brandished his rapier, held it high and ready

brash sweep of his arm – BL

cast her arms about the child

clamped his fingers into tender – BL

clapped her hands on her hips in a

counted on his fingers – BL

crooked a finger at him in a gesture for him to follow – BL

crossed her arms, refusing to budge – BL

crushed the paper in his fist – BL

dangled the tempting morsel before his eyes

denuded the chicken of its feathers

dragged her along

dug his fingers into his palms BL

elbowed his son in the ribs and put his

fanned her heated face with her hands – BL

finger to his lips – BL

fingers drummed the table – BL

flipped him the bird – BL

flung off his restraining hand – BL

folded the sheets and

forked up a too-large bite and crammed it

froze in place – BL

gestured for the child to

grabbed a handful of hair with a vicious yank – BL

hands glided over his smooth torso

his arm bonded them together like Siamese twins

hoisted her up with an “Upsy daisy!”

hooked around her waist in a quick rough hug

imprisoned his arms

irritably punched her pillow – BL

jammed her hands in her pockets – BL

lashed out with a huge handbag – BL

lifted his paw to shake hands

muscles bulged as he wrestled with

played the piano, fingering the keys

plunked his money down

poled downstream

propped up on an elbow

pumped his fist in the air – BL

punted the ball

raised a stiff finger in the air and demanded – BL

sawed at the ankle chains

scratch, yawned and looked board – BL

scratched an itch

scrubbed her face till it shinned

shoulders lifted in a shrug – BL

shoulders lifted then drooped – BL

shoveled his food in

skidded to a halt – BL

slapped his face in front of God and country – BL

slashed the air in an angry gesture – BL

snapped a sharp salute – BL

snapped his fingers, expecting service – BL

snatched a sandwich off the

spread her arms wide in welcome – BL

spun on his heel and hurried off without a backward glance – BL

squeezed the juice out

stabbed at the meat – BL

steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them

stretched extravagantly and yawned

sweating hands gripped – BL

tips of his thumb and forefinger met in an okay sign – BL

toted her under his arm like a feed sack

towing her behind him like a dog on a leash

typed a letter

unexpected forceful shove

unfastened the buttons one by one

wagged a bony finger in his face – BL

wagged his finger and shook his head – BL

warded him off with arms thrust forward, palms up – BL

wide sweep of his arm, he indicated – BL

wrestled the rabble-rouser to the ground

wrung out the dish cloth and draped it

yanked her skirts aside so they wouldn’t touch him – BL

Head And Face

Note: I have included some facial expressions but only if they included action verbs.

Adams apple bobbed – BL

averted his face – BL

bent her attention to the piano


blinked owlishly – BL

brows bumped together in a scowl – BL

clenched his jaw and curled his hands into fists – BL

closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose – BL

closed-lip smile – BL

cocked his head

crinkled her eyes

cupped a hand over his mouth and rubbed at his nose with one finger – BL

did a double-take – BL

dropped his glasses to the bridge of his nose and peered over them – BL

ducked his head between his hunched shoulders and sank his hands into his pockets – BL

expelled a breath

eyes narrowed – BL

forehead puckered – BL

gaze dipped to her booty

head drooped – BL

jutted his chin and crossed his hands behind his back – BL

lips pursed for a kiss

lips pursed in irritation – BL

lips trembled as she nodded – BL


nostrils flared – BL

panting with exertion

peered down his nose as if she were a – BL

politely doffed his hat to – BL

popped her head inside the door

pupils dilated – BL

raked her with freezing contempt – BL

rolled her eyes skyward – BL

sketched a bow

slammed his eyes shut – BL

smirked and tossed her hair over her shoulder – BL

spewed water and spit – BL

squinted at the small print

stared with cow eyes – BL

stroked his chin, evaluating – BL

sucked thoughfully on the ear piece of his glasses – BL

terse nod – BL

Lower Half Body Movement: Sit, Rise, bend, Lie, Fall

abandoned/deserted/abdicated the hard chair

balanced on spiked heels

basked in the sun

boxer lay supine in the ring

bunked at his sister’s house

cambered up out of the ravine

cat-napped in the shade of an

collapsed in a stupor – BL

crashed to the ground

crossed her legs and bounced her foot – BL

cuddled on the loveseat – BL

dawdled alongside the road

dipped in a low curtsey – BL

dragging her feet, she trudged to a job she hated – BL

enthroned himself at the

exploded out of the chair, knocking it over – BL

fat man tripped and squashed his partner

flipped the chair backwards and straddled

floated on the rubber raft

front legs of his chair left the floor and

gathered himself up with as much dignity as possible

jerked and sat up ramrod straight – BL

jounced in the saddle, bruising his

jumped/bounced/leapt/lurched – BL

knelt down on one knee

leaned forward/across the table on one elbow – BL

lie prone

lifted her skirts and hopped down

loafed on her brand new sofa with his shoes on

logy steps and shoulders slumped – BL

loitered in the park

lolled about all day

looped a leg over the arm of a chair and leaned back with an indolent smile – BL

lounged on the plush carpet

lunged at his enemy – BL

moved mechanically – BL

moved woodenly – BL

nestled under the covers

ousted from his comfy seat

Move From Place To Place

planted himself squarely and confronted – BL

plunged into the pool

pried her out of his favorite chair

propped his feet up on the desk – BL

prostrated himself before the king – BL

rammed her bare foot into his blubbery gut – BL

reclined for the night in the bath tub

reposed on the daybed

rested his forearms on his knees and leaned

retired to bed

rickety rocker complained with every back and forth motion

rising from the depths of a cracked leather chair

rocked on his heels with a cocky grin – BL

rolled onto his back

roosted on the porch rail

rose to stand

sagged against the wall – BL

sank into the depths of a springless chair

sat back in his chair

sat like brooding hen – BL

slapped his gloves against his thigh – BL

slipped on the ice

slouched down on the couch – BL

slumped back into the – BL

sprawled on the bed – BL

squatted on his heels

stood smartly at attention

stooped to pick up a shiny

stumbled over his feet and fell flat

surfaced from the lake bottom and held up his prize

teetered precariously

threw herself into his arms – BL

toe tapped a staccato rhythm – BL

toed his loafers off

toppled from his perch

tossing and turning in bed

unfolded his tall frame from the chair

vaulted to his feet/bolted/

wilted onto the couch like a – BL


adjourned to the parlor

ambled away – BL

angry crowd surged into the street – BL

ascended the mountain in a surprisingly

assumed the thinker’s pose

baby crabbed-walked across the floor on all fours

barged ahead of – BL

battled his way through the melee – BL

blazed across the ball field

blundered into the room

boy scouts beetled across the creek

brawlers wallowed in the mud

breasts heaved with every frustrated breath BL

broad open smile BL

bully swaggered into the class room – BL

bushwhacked the sheriff

carted her way to the funny farm

child scooted across the floor

clambered up the boulder

closed the distance between then

coasted into the room

commuted from the suburbs

conveyed her to the first exit

crawled under the table

crowd migrated into the

cruised into the diner

dark figure barreled out of the alley

dashed into the grocery store and headed

doddered like an old man

dog-paddled across the pool

drifted into the hall to watch the

drove uphill

ducked out of sight

elated child skipped – BL

evacuated at the sound of the fire alarm

falling into step behind her

filed out of the theater

flounced over to her boyfriend – BL

flung himself into the river

gadded about town

gave chase and hurdled over people and furniture

her footsteps took her to the riverbank

herded the crowd away form

hoofed it into town

hustled her along

inched his way through

infiltrated her building with

invaded her private quarters

jogged up the street

loped across the creek

lumbered across gym floor

lunged forward in a flying leap

lurched unsteadily out of the bar – BL

minced her way up to him – BL

mother-to-be waddled into the

mounted the stairs by twos

moved with a rolling, bow-legged cowboy gait

out-paced the teenager

paced the hospital halls – BL

padded across the floor in footed jammies

pedaled the speed bike

people flocked to hear the

picked the lock and attained the room in two minutes

Pivoted on his heel and took off – BL

plodded slowly across the desert – BL

plummeted to his death

Poking along at a snails pace

Proceeded across without mishap

promenade around the

Prowled the kitchen for snack

quickstep of soldiers parading by in review

rambled along at a leisurely pace

repaired to the next room for a smoke

repelled up a mountain

retraced his steps/backtracked

retreated to second base

rounded the corner smacked into

sallied forth – BL

sashayed her cute little fanny down the – BL

scaled the slopes

scrabbled up the steep, rugged mountain

scrambled over the grassy knoll

scampered under the [my opinion only animals camper]

scuffed along in oversized shoes

seemed to fly past them

shinny up the drain pipe

shuffled slowly down the hall – BL

sidled up alongside him

skidded to a halt – BL

skirted the gathering crowd

skulked about the woods – BL

slid down the icy driveway on her fanny

slithered through the door like the snake he was – BL

slogged along as if his feet were stuck in mud – BL

slogged through the Mississippi mud

sloshed through the slush snow

slunk behind the curtains where he could – BL

spread his arms wide, hands gripping the table

staggered drunkenly – BL

stalked over to retrieve his – BL

stormed down the hall and burst into – BL

strayed into a war zone

streaked across the room in a blur

strode into the forbidden room

struck out for parts unknown

stumbled over the messy piles

swimmer knifed through the water

swooped like an eagle and

threaded his way through

thumbs hooked over his belt, he swaggered across – BL

tiptoed through the dark house

tobogganed down the hill

took a header down the steep rocky incline

trailed behind the child

traipsed across the barnyard

treadled lightly

tripped across the room – BL

troops advanced into

truckin’ down the road

trudged through the muck

undulated across the ballroom

veered toward the study

waded through the much

waiter whizzed past – BL

waltzed her across the floor

waltzed into the courtroom – BL



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Lyn Horner And Her New Anthology Project – The Posse

Whew! I don’t about you but I’m really glad the Christmas and New Year holidays are over. It’s wonderful, but I’m pooped and I’m more than ready to get back to my writing.

Speaking of writing, last week Lyn Horner one of my favorite authors and a long time friend called to tell me about her new and exciting project. I invited her here today to tell you all about it. 


Howdy, Partners. Many thanks to Sharla Rae for hosting me today! Sharla is one of my favorite authors and a great friend.

I want to tell you about a project I’m involved in, but first a bit about myself. California-born and Minnesota-bred, I have lived in Texas for over thirty years. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have two grown children.

My father was a Texas boy, my mom a Minnesota girl, explaining why we moved from San Francisco to “the land of ten thousand lakes” when I was a little tyke. But my Texan dad loved tales of the Old West and he instilled the same love in me. Years later, I fell head over heels for western historical romances. Eventually, I began writing them.

I published my first book in 2010. Titled Darlin’ Irish, it garnered good reviews and evolved into the Texas Devlins series. More recently, I branched out with a paranormal-romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians, and have contributed to two western anthologies.

Which leads me to my fun new project. A few months ago I was invited to collaborate with five other authors on a new anthology of western short stories. Titled The Posse, each story features – you guessed it – a posse. There is a Facebook page where all you lovely readers can find out about the cover reveal, giveaways and the release date (tentatively mid-March.) I hope you will stop by, give the page a like and recommend it to your friends.


Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from my short story, The Schoolmarm’s Hero.



Setting: Lentzburg, Colorado; autumn 1880

Marshall Trace Balfour and schoolmarm Matilda Schoenbrun are attending a church picnic when gunshots ring out from Main Street. Trace races to stop trouble.

“Throw down your guns!” Trace shouted, drawing his .45 and striding toward the troublemakers.

The three pivoted to face him. Two were young, the third somewhat older, and from the look of them, all were liquored up. The older one, whose Stetson hung by chin straps down his back, glared belligerently from beneath bushy brows the same rusty orange as his curly hair. “Who says so, mister?” he challenged.

“I do. The name’s Balfour. I’m the law in this town and I’m ordering you to lay down your guns. Now.”

“Like hell we will!” the wild-eyed waddy yelled. He fired a shot at Trace, missing by a foot or more.

Trace threw himself behind a nearby horse trough and fired back. He missed but his bullet convinced the hothead it was time to git. Hollering for his cronies to run, he bounded into the street and dashed to his horse, reined to a hitching post a few feet away. The other two followed his lead.

Determined to prevent their escape, Trace jumped to his feet and aimed at the leader, but at that moment Jake Driscoll, the saloon keeper, charged out of his establishment carrying a shotgun. He stomped down the boardwalk steps into the street as the three cowboys spurred their mounts toward the south end of town. Big and burly as the name of his place implied, the man blocked Trace’s aim.

“You bastards killed my piano player! You ain’t gettin’ away scot-free!” he bellowed. Raising his shotgun, he fired both barrels. The blast exploded with a deafening roar and knocked one of the young riders off his horse. He hit the ground face-down in the dirt and didn’t move.

“Shep!” yelled one of the others, a dark-haired kid on a paint horse. He started to pull up.

“He’s done for. Ride!” shouted the curly-haired galoot.

The two tried to make a run for it, but by now several shopkeepers and other men blocked the street, most pointing guns at the cowboys – now outlaws – racing toward them. Seeing their way blocked, the pair swung around and galloped back the way they’d come.

Trace had started to run after them, meaning to grab his horse at the jail and pursue them out of town. Now, he halted and fired off a shot as they raced past him in the opposite direction. He winged the dark-haired youth. The kid cried out, rocked from side to side but managed to stay on his horse. As he and his gun-happy companion neared the north end of town, Trace saw more citizens gather. Fresh from the picnic, they included several families. Again, some of the men blocked the street, carrying firearms.

Trapped, the fleeing pair jerked their horses to a dusty, skidding halt. Trace’s stomach knotted. Fearing what the fugitives might do, he ran, spurs jingling, toward the threatening conflict. Before he could get there, the carrot-topped cabrón prodded his horse into a group of shrieking women and children, bent down and grabbed one of the women. She screamed as he hauled her up in front of him. Spotting her blue dress and flying dark hair, Trace realized it was Mattie. He shouted her name and ran faster, heart hammering in his chest.

“Let us pass or I’ll kill her,” her captor hollered at the crowd. He pressed the barrel of his six-shooter to her head.

“No!” Trace roared. He didn’t know if he was shouting at the bastard not to shoot or at the crowd not to let him get away with Mattie in his clutches. It didn’t matter as the townsfolk parted, allowing the outlaws through. Seeing them thunder off, Trace froze, flooded by fear for the woman he’d so recently come to respect and desire.

Find Lyn’s books on her Amazon author page or her website, Lyn Horner’s Corner.

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Christmas At Sharla’s House 2016

Sis helping me decorate our 2015 tree

Sis helping me decorate our 2015 tree


Wow, Christmas week already! Where did the year go?

As I sit here up on my little mountain in Southern California, a steady but warm rain is giving us a much needed soak. The gifts are purchased and tomorrow I’ll finish hunting the feast — at stores, that is.




Before heading to my office to write this blog, I ventured out on the upper deck of my home to watch the rain and enjoy the twinkling Christmas lights decorating homes all over the community. The dark and a pinkish mist camouflaged my view of the ocean but it was beautiful in its own way. The scene reminded of what I imagine a nighttime fairyland must look like. The rain tapping on the roof added a peacefulness that urged me to curl up in bed with a good book. Everything feels as it should during this time of year, full of God’s wonder, beauty and love. 

It’s especially relaxing after a heavy duty shopping day!

This week has been cold, but today warmed up so much that my sweatshirt was plenty warm. The warm day brought out the holiday shoppers in hoards. The mall and Costco parking lots looked like they were hosting rock concerts! I almost fled right back home. Truth is,  I did avoid Costco and shoved that trip onto tomorrow’s agenda.

One thing I’ve noticed this year, however is that most everyone seems to be smiling more and offering a Merry Christmas to everyone. I’m not sure why but I‘m not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth. 

 Our house will be lively and jolly for Christmas. My husband’s brother and wife will be here from Hong Kong along with their daughter, her husband and new baby who live in San Francisco. There’s nothing so wonderful as a new little one to spoil!

My daughter and her children will arrive two days after the first bunch. I have to share my son’s children with their other grandma this year — darn. But it will still be very fun. Good times and good eats too.

And of course there will baking, baking and more baking. Nothing smells better than cakes and cookies in the oven and the kids love to participate. Grandma makes the dough and they have at it, rolling

Lots of helpers baking

Lots of helpers baking

out cookies on the kitchen Island. We’ll have dough, food coloring and colorful sprinkles everywhere, but oh what fun!

Last year the older kids sort of turned up their noses until they saw all the fun the younger kids were having. iPads and phones were abandoned and they  joined in. Then the mommies jumped in and it was joyful chaos. This year the kids especially asked me if they could do the baking again!  

Below, in the picture, Cat is unhappy because she’s honestly done with all the picture taking and wants to eat!




There will be presents, baking, and shenanigans galore this year and it’s all good. Life is short and we can scrub the floors when it grows quiet and everyone returns home and settles into the business of 2017. 

From my home to yours, I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And to those of you who don’t participate in Christmas, that’s okay too. I’m just offering everyone a heaping wish for peace, love and joy.

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Word Humor With Paraprosdokians

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence is unexpected and often very humorous. They make great one-liners.

I received these examples of paraprodokians  in my e-mail today. I’d love to give credit to the originator but no credits were given. Still, I had to share it. Check out the websites below for more great examples

• If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they’d eventually find me attractive.

• I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they’re flashing behind you.

• Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.

• Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

• I’m great at multi-tasking–I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.

• If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

• Take my advice — I’m not using it.

• My spouse and I were happy for twenty years; then we met.

• Hospitality is the art of making guests feel like they’re at home when you wish they were.

• Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

• Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

• Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.

• He who laughs last thinks slowest.

• Is it wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly?

• I was going to give him a nasty look, but he already had one.

• Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let her sleep

• If tomatoes are technically a fruit, is ketchup a smoothie?

Find more here: Monty Perlin’s World – 182 Paraprosdokians


Louise Myers Visual Social Media


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Yep, Writers Are People Too And Sometimes We Need A Swiffer Duster




Darn. Where’s my Swiffer Duster?

My desk has gone dusty these last three months.

And yeah, it’s driving me crazy!

Writers are real people like everyone else with everyday problems – some ouches worse than others.



At my house, the ouches with health and family have been far too many this year. I’m not going into great detail here as we all have problems. I will tell you that I almost lost my husband this summer while my own health was not the best.


The good news is we’re on the mend and as most writers know, life’s obstacles make us “stronger” as a person and as a writer – even when they temporarily impede our process.

 Characters we write about have real-life issues too! And it’s not easy to describe those issues if we’ve never experienced adversity.

Sure a writer can pick the brain of a person who has a particular experience we need for characterization and we do!

 However, physical and emotional pain from real experiences top everything. [Not that I like it much.] At least that’s what I tell myself in those woe-is-me moments. Hey, I’m human. I have pity parties, too. <g>

 While I curse the delay in my writing process, I’m very aware that I can use my negative experiences. Writing about my problems inspires a certain catharsis allowing me freedom to stand outside myself and view those emotions from a greater and wider perspective. Using this kind of insight in fiction is powerful.

But back to the subject.

I apologize to my readers for not producing my next book as quickly as intended. I’ll have to repeat a modern-age saying that I hate hearing – mostly because it sounds like a cop-out but this time it fits. It is what it is.

Be assured I’ve taken my Swiffer Duster to my desk,  I’m muddling through the pesky ouches and I’m writing. <g>



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Woot! How To Fell A Timberman Is Second Runner Up For 2016 American Historical Rone Award



I had my second big surprise this summer when I learned yesterday that How To Fell To Fell A Timberman is 2nd runner up for American Historicals in the 2016 Rone Award

The first surprise of course was being nominated. 

All writers work hard to write a good book,  but it’s not often we are publicly recognized by readers AND fellow  writers. 


Thanks to all my readers, friends, family and fellow writers for this honor and for supporting my writing efforts.

And many thanks to InDtale Magazine who recognizes the talents of independently published authors while producing a beautiful on-line magazine.  

The InDtale Magazine is full of great reviews for readers and helpful writing articles for authors. Don’t miss it!




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How To Fell A Timberman is in Final Round for the Roan Award





Woo hoo!

How to Fell a Timberman is in the final round for the Roan award.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me and my book. Seven books are in the final round and How To Fell A Timberman is among them!

The InDScribe Author Reader Conference is in October and the winner will be announced then. I’m up against some heavy duty authors but whether or not I win, I feel like a winner thanks to my readers, friends and family. 

Thank you, thank you!


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